Soccer-Sabitzer double guides Austria to 4-1 victory over Azerbaijan

Soccer Football - UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers - Group F - Austria v Azerbaijan - Raiffeisen Arena, Linz, Austria - March 24, 2023 Austria's Christoph Baumgartner celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Marcel Sabitzer REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

LINZ, Austria (Reuters) - Austria's Marcel Sabitzer scored twice as they profited from a dominant first-half performance to secure a comfortable 4-1 home win over Azerbaijan in their opening Euro 2024 Group F qualifier on Friday.

Sabitzer, who is on loan at Manchester United from Bayern Munich for the second half of this season, collected a pass from Christoph Baumgartner in the box and thrashed the ball into the back of the net for the opener just before the half-hour mark.

Austria doubled their advantage a minute later as Michael Gregoritsch scored, before Sabitzer curled a wonderful free-kick into the corner of the net early in the second period.

Azerbaijan pulled a goal back when Emin Makhmudov finished from a tight angle and they briefly threatened a comeback, but Baumgartner got the goal his excellent performance deserved to restore the three-goal advantage for the hosts.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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