Stuart Elliott opened the scoring in the 60th minute with a superb 20-yard free-kick and then Warren Feeney stepped off the bench to add a second. The Luton striker grabbed the ball off Elliott to score from the spot.
The result came without the midfielders Jeff Whitley and Phil Mulryne, who were banished from the squa
d for breaking a curfew. But that could have worked in the team's favour, according to the manager, Lawrie Sanchez.
"Sometimes the chaos works for a team in that it concentrates your mind on what the job is," he said. And Sanchez has a relaxed attitude towards Wednesday's encounter. "We are not expected to win as we are 100-odd places below them in the Fifa rankings," he said.
Goals: Elliott (60) 1-0; Feeney pen (85) 2-0.
Northern Ireland (4-4-2): Taylor; Baird, Hughes, Craigan, Capaldi; Gillespie, Johnson, Davis, Elliott (Robinson, 89); Healy (Jones, 79), Quinn (Feeney, 72). Substitutes not used: Ingham (gk), Brunt, Sproule, Murdock.
Azerbaijan (4-4-2): Kramarenko; Amirbekov, Tagizade (Nabiev, 84), Muzika, Imamaliyev; M Gurbanov (Ponomaryov, 65), Sadygov, Guliyev, Hajivev; Kerimov, Aliyev (Shukurov, 74). Substitutes not used: Hasanzade (gk), Guliev, A Gurbanov, Melikov.
Referee: D Stanisic (Serbia & Montenegro).
Booked: Azerbaijan Guliyev, Aliyev, Amirbekov, Sadygov.
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