Both sides hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil were long but over but could move their standing in the group with a positive result.
It was the home side, who came out victorious as Michael O'Neill's side slumped to yet another defeat their third in as many games as goals from Rufat Dadashov and Mahir Shurukov handed Berti Vogts' side the win, while Jonny Evans was sent off late for the visitors.
Read how all the events in the game unfolded in our commentary below.
4.43pmO'Neill promised that he wouldn't make changes tonight and he has stuck by that, he told reporters: "We have to build a mentality to win games and the only way to do that is by winning, so we can't afford to use these matches to experiment. It would be nice to give the less experienced players some game time because they will benefit from that in the future but the imperative is to pick a side we think can win the game. That's what we will do."
4.46pmSTAT ATTACK! Azerbaijan have not won a competitive game since September 2011, when they recorded a 3-2 win over Kazakhstan.
4.52pmThe players are out on the pitch and we should be underway shortly.
4.55pmSTAT ATTACK! Northern Ireland have never lost to Azerbaijan in three meetings between the sides.
2 minEarly attack from O'Neill's side as Hodgson gets down the right flank, he looks up and crosses into the penalty area but there is no players in green in the box to attack the ball.
4 minDavis does well in the midfield to find the run of Ward and he unleashes a shot at goal, which is comfortably saved by Agayev. That's the first effort on target in this game.
6 minHodson clips a good ball down the right for Paterson to chase, he holds off the challenge of Allahverdiyev and manages to dig out a cross but again no player in green is in the area to attack the ball.
7 minShukurov gives the ball away for the home side straight to Paterson, who takes a touch and drills the ball at goal but his shot flies well over the bar from 30 yards out.
9 minAllahverdiyev gives a away a free kick as he clatters into the back of Brunt in Norther Ireland territory. Evans knocks the ball long into the Azerbaijan box and the home side struggled to clear it before the ball eventually comes to Hodson on the right and he delivers another dangerous cross but Garayev does well to clear.
11 minMore space for Paterson down the right as he gets in behind Allahverdiyev, he knocks the ball back to Hodson who tries to launch a cross into the area but the pursuit by Amirguliyev forces a quick delivery and the ball goes straight to Agayev.
13 minO'Neill's side are raiding up the field quite frequently but their final ball in the final third and passing around the 18-yard box are really letting them down.
14 minCHANCE! Brunt gets fed the ball on the edge of the penalty area, he gets time and space to take a touch and fire a vicious volley at goal which looks destined for the bottom corner but Agayev makes an excellent one-handed save.
16 minPaterson thinks he should have a free kick as he is grounded by Shurukov but somehow the referee gives the decision the other way.
18 minWard gets in down the left as Davis slides a through ball to him down the channel, he has Paterson in the middle, but he opts to shoot himself and can only lift his effort well over the bar.
22 minSAVE! Hodson gets down the right and has his cross cleared but only as far as Paterson who whips a cross into the path of Ward, who guides a shot at goal from point blank range but somehow Agayev makes the stop and tips the effort over the bar.
23 minFrom the resulting corner Brunt whips the ball in from the left and McAuley goes down in the area but the referee gives the free kick to the home side again.
25 minCHANCE! Shurukov hits a low cross into the area, which goes through every player, Aliyev gets a foot on it at the back post and diverts the ball into the path of Dadashov, who shoots first time with his left foot but he curls his effort past the post.
26 minThe visitors respond straightaway to the pressure as Brunt is played through but the ball is on his weaker foot and under duress from Ramaldnov he can only fire his shot at Agayev.
28 minSAVE! Carroll makes an excellent stop to keep the scores level as Garayev lifts a cross to the back post for Aliyev, who is onside and he drills a volley low towards the bottom corner but the former Manchester United keeper gets down low to divert it past the post.
29 minShurkov takes the resulting corner and his delivery causes mayhem in the box before Evans can get a big boot to the ball to clear the danger.
32 minSAVE! Brunt goes close again but Agayev makes another excellent save to deny him, as the West Bromwich Albion midfielder picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and fired a left-footed shot towards the top corner but the keeper dove high to his left to palm the ball away.
34 minAliyev raids forward and beats several challenges before firing an effort at goal from 30 yards which trickles well wide of the post. He claims a corner but the referee isn't interested, the midfielder had a lot of other options in promising positions there.
36 minCHANCE! Paterson gets down the right and is forced back, but Hodson makes the run forward and immediately knocks the ball into path of the unmarked Ward in the area but the striker can only lift his effort over the bar from six yards out.
38 minCHANCE! Davis moves forward and slides a through ball onto the path of Paterson inside the box, he fires a low shot at goal but his effort goes inches wide of the post from six yards out. The keeper may have got a touch to divert that shot wide.
42 minDavis makes another surge into the area but his brought down just before he can shoot but the loose ball falls to Paterson but his shot is blocked by Davis on the ground and Azerbaijan manage to hack the ball clear.
43 minWard finds space on the left but can't pull the trigger on the edge of the area, he knocks the ball wide to Ferguson who digs out a cross and the ball evades everyone in the area and lands at the feet of Hodson on the right, he loops a cross to the back post looking for Ward but his cross is too high and goes out for a goal kick.
5.52pmThere have been plenty of chances for both sides in this game but somehow we're still level. O'Neill's side will be wondering how they're not ahead as they've had the majority of the better opportunities but a combination of bad finishing and good keeping have kept the scores level.
5.55pmThe home side have had chances of their own but again a fine stop from Roy Carroll and a bad miss from Dadashov prevented them from taking the lead. Quality defending has been amiss in their first half.
5.58pmBoth sides have reason to be pleased with their performances so far but will be looking to get on the scoresheet as soon as possible in the second period.
6pmSUBSTITUTION: Huseynov replaces Nadirov for the home side.
48 minCHANCE! The home side nearly take the lead immediately as Shurukov lifts a cross into the area deep from the right and he finds the run of Dadashov, but he can only fire an effort wide of the post from three yards out. The poor finishing continues in this game.
50 minIreland respond to that chance with a lovely move down the right as Brunt and Davis exchange passes before the latter tees up Ward on the edge of the area but his left-footed shot is tame and straight at Agayev.
54 minYELLOW CARD: Norwood goes into the book for a late foul on Aliyev just outside the box.
55 minAliyev takes the free kick kick himself and his effort is tame but bounces before Carroll who has to watch the ball carefully before he can gather.
58 minThe home side take the lead as Abdullayev slips a reverse pass into the feet of Aliyev inside the penalty area, he whips a first time cross into Dadashov on the six-yard box and he side foots his effort into the bottom corner. A lovely team goal.
59 minIreland try to get back in the game immediately as Ferguson raids down the left and lifts a cross into the area but Ramaldnov is there to head the ball behind and the home side clear the danger from the resulting corner.
61 minAzerbaijan find space in the Ireland box yet again and the ball comes out to Aliyev on the edge, who fires a shot towards the top corner but his effort goes harmlessly over the bar.
63 minO'Neill's side win a free kick as Ward is felled 30 yards from goal. Brunt lines the kick up and drills an effort with power which goes just wide of the post with Agayev beaten.
65 minSUBSTITUTION: Niall McGinn replaces Hodson for the visitors.
67 minShurukov causes more problems down the right for the hosts and he creates space for Aliyev to raid past him and he tries to find the midfielder with a back-heeled pass but Aliyev can't time his run and is flagged offside.
70 minAgain Shurukov raids forward from right-back and this time he whips another dangerous cross in from deep but the ball evades everyone in the area and goes out for a goal kick.
73 minSUBSTITUTION: Billy McKay replaces Chris Brunt for the visitors.
75 minHuseynov finds space at the back post and fires an effort at goal after Aliyev's cross evades everyone in the penalty area but his shot goes well over the bar.
78 minNorthern Ireland are really struggling to get anything going at the minute, they've offered very little in terms of an attacking threat in this half.
82 minCHANCE! The visitors finally create an opening as Paterson and Ward combine in the final third of the pitch and the former finds space inside the box and shoots but his effort is blocked by Shurukov.
84 minO'Neill's side are handed a chance to get back in the game as Paterson wins a free kick 25 yards from goal as Garayev handles his attempted pass to Ferguson.
85 minNorwood lines up the kick but blasts his effort over the bar from 25 yards out. He should have tested the keeper from that distance.
87 minOFF THE POST!! The visitors hit the post late in the game as Paterson drilled effort at goal clatters off the woodwork and bounces clear. Davis tries to poke a shot at goal in the rebound but Azerbaijan somehow clear their lines.
88 minThat could be Northern Ireland's best chance to get into this game gone, as that is the best opportunity they have created in the second period.
90 + 2 minCHANCE! A long ball is pumped forward is knocked down by Paterson into the path of McGinn, who fires an effort at goal which sails over the bar, he needed to test the keeper at least with that shot.
90 + 3 minRED CARD! Jonny Evans is sent off for the visitors for a kick at Aliyev, which gives the home side a free kick 20 yards from goal.
90 + 3 minThe home side double their lead and secure the three points as Shuruykov drills the free kick into the top corner of the net with a lovely strike. He deserves that for a splendid performance this evening.
6.58pmNorthern Ireland fall to fifth in Group H with their defeat to Azerbaijan in Baku as the home side dominated the second half and were clinical in front goal something which the Irish lacked throughout the game.
7pmMichael O'Neill's side have now lost back-to-back games to Luxembourg and Azerbaijan and have taken just two points from a possible 12 from their meetings with those two sides in the group.
7.03pmThanks for joining our commentary this evening, stick with us for the rest of our coverage from this evening's World Cup qualifiers. But from me, it's goodbye.