Azerbaijan and Israel shared the spoils in their opening FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014™ qualifier in Baku tonight.

Visitors Israel took a 50th-minute lead in the Group F encounter through Bebras Natcho, but Azerbaijan were level within 15 minutes thanks to Ruslan Abusov and neither side could find a winner.

Azerbaijan might have snatched the points in the closing stages, but Israel's Spain-based goalkeeper Dudu Aouate produced two crucial late saves to keep out efforts from Rahid Amirquliev and Vagif Javadov.

There was little to separate the sides in the first half, with two of the best chances for both teams falling early on as Itay Shechter tested Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev in the seventh minute before Aouate kept out Branimir Subasic's header three minutes later.

The opening goal of the game came just after the interval when Natcho tried his luck from long distance and found the back of the net.

The lead did not last long though as Abusov curled home a 20-yard effort in the 65th minute to draw Azerbaijan level, and the hosts went close to taking all three points only to be denied by superb stops by Real Mallorca goalkeeper Aouate.