Match ends, Northern Ireland 4, Azerbaijan 0.
World Cup 2018: Northern Ireland 4-0 Azerbaijan
Northern Ireland replaced Azerbaijan in second place in Group C thanks to an impressive World Cup qualifying win at a rain-lashed Windsor Park.
Kyle Lafferty fired home the opener in the 27th minute and Gareth McAuley headed in from a Chris Brunt free-kick to make it 2-0 before half-time.
Conor McLaughlin headed his first international goal before Brunt claimed his second goal for his country.
NI are second on goal difference, five points behind group leaders Germany.
West Brom's Brunt was back in the NI team for the first time in 13 months, having missed Euro 2016 because of a serious knee injury.
"To score four goals and not concede any is a good result, especially against Azerbaijan," said Brunt. "They were flying high in the group."
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill described the win as "huge" and praised the fans for their backing.
"The mood is very good, the players love playing here, the crowd were fantastic again and we can look forward to March now," he said.
O'Neill's side play Croatia in a friendly in Belfast on Tuesday before taking on Norway in their next qualifier on 26 March.
Azerbaijan were on the back foot for much of the game, but they threatened early in the second half when substitute Deniz Yilmaz was denied by the advancing Michael McGovern in the NI goal.
Germany maintained their 100% record with an 8-0 hammering of San Marino while the Czech Republic beat Norway 2-1 to go fourth.
Northern Ireland's pressing game
O'Neill seems to have got a few tips from watching Liverpool and Tottenham, as the high press was implemented with success.
Indeed, Azerbaijan were never able to settle on the ball, with Northern Ireland forcing their opponents into mistake after mistake.
The visitors boasted a record of no goals conceded in three qualifiers, but their defence crumbled under relentless pressure.
NI's passing, particularly in the first half, was crisp and accurate while the all-important finishing made this a performance to remember.
Two up top
O'Neill usually prefers a lone target man in attack but, in the absence of Jamie Ward, he went with Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis as a front two.
It worked a treat, with Magennis working hard in the right channel while Lafferty occupied a central position.
Lafferty swivelled to drive home his 20th goal for Northern Ireland, showing that he belongs on the international stage despite struggling with Norwich.
O'Neill may revert to his favoured formation when Ward recovers from injury but at least he knows he has a tried and tested alternative.
Man of the match - Chris Brunt
After recovering from a clash of heads, Brunt showed what Northern Ireland have been missing for the past eight months.
A trademark free-kick was headed home by McAuley and he arrowed a shot low and hard into the bottom corner to complete an excellent display.
O'Neill's men play Croatia in a Belfast friendly on Tuesday and their next qualifier is at home to Norway on 26 March.
- At 36 years and 341 days, Gareth McAuley is the oldest scorer in European World Cup qualifying this campaign.
- Northern Ireland have scored 11 goals in their last three home games.
- Chris Brunt registered two assists in this game after just one in his previous 22 games for Northern Ireland.
- Northern Ireland have kept five consecutive clean sheets at Windsor Park
- 13EvansBooked at 74minsSubstituted forMcNairat 81'minutes
- 3FergusonBooked at 72minsSubstituted forMcGinnat 73'minutes
- 10LaffertySubstituted forGriggat 62'minutes
- 16MakhmudovBooked at 38minsSubstituted forNazarovat 70'minutesBooked at 84mins
- 20SheydaevSubstituted forYilmazat 45'minutes
- 10GurbanovSubstituted forRamazanovat 75'minutes
- 7Oglu Abdullayev
- 8Pascual Israfilov
- Clément Turpin
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 4, Azerbaijan 0.
Attempt missed. Aghabala Ramazanov (Azerbaijan) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Dimitrij Nazarov.
Offside, Northern Ireland. Steven Davis tries a through ball, but Josh Magennis is caught offside.
Foul by Maksim Medvedev (Azerbaijan).
William Grigg (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Rahid Amirguliyev (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland).
Offside, Northern Ireland. Chris Brunt tries a through ball, but Steven Davis is caught offside.
Offside, Azerbaijan. Rahid Amirguliyev tries a through ball, but Deniz Yilmaz is caught offside.
Dimitrij Nazarov (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland).
Dimitrij Nazarov (Azerbaijan) is shown the yellow card.
Goal! Northern Ireland 4, Azerbaijan 0. Chris Brunt (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Steven Davis (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Niall McGinn.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Paddy McNair replaces Corry Evans.
Attempt missed. Deniz Yilmaz (Azerbaijan) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Rahid Amirguliyev.
Offside, Azerbaijan. Dimitrij Nazarov tries a through ball, but Afran Ismayilov is caught offside.
Foul by Arif Dasdamirov (Azerbaijan).
William Grigg (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) because of an injury.
Substitution, Azerbaijan. Aghabala Ramazanov replaces Ruslan Gurbanov.
Corry Evans (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Rahid Amirguliyev (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Corry Evans (Northern Ireland).
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Niall McGinn replaces Shane Ferguson.
Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Magomed Mirzabekov (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland).
Arif Dasdamirov (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland).
Substitution, Azerbaijan. Dimitrij Nazarov replaces Emin Makhmudov.
Goal! Northern Ireland 3, Azerbaijan 0. Conor McLaughlin (Northern Ireland) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Oliver Norwood with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Gara Garayev.
Afran Ismayilov (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Chris Brunt (Northern Ireland).
Corner, Azerbaijan. Conceded by Corry Evans.
Attempt blocked. Emin Makhmudov (Azerbaijan) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Arif Dasdamirov.
Kamran Aghayev (Azerbaijan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.