Sports Mole previews Monday’s Nations League clash between Azerbaijan and Belarus, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Azerbaijan and Belarus go in search of their first wins in 2022 UEFA Nations League when they face off at the Dalga Arena on Monday night.
After disappointing starts in this year’s competitions over the past two weeks, the two nations face a relegation battle to Group C3.
Azerbaijan extended their winning streak to 13 games in all competitions with a 1-0 defeat by Slovakia on Friday night.
Despite seeing very little of the ball and withstanding numerous shots on goal, Giovanni de BiasiThe Baku team kept their superior at a distance for much of the duel in Baku.
However, former Manchester City midfielder Vladimir Weiss left Azerbaijan empty-handed after they scored a goal winner for the visitors in the 81st minute.
As a result, the hosts are bottom of Group C3 from Monday before Matchday 4, so their clash with Belarus is a crucial factor to avoid relegation to Liga D.
If they picked up three points, they could take their fate into their own hands in the group’s last two games in September, but given their current shyness in front of goal, it could prove difficult to secure the win they desire.
Friday’s gap means Azerbaijan are yet to score in the Nations League this year and indeed they have not scored in their last seven meetings of the competition, having failed to back the net four straight times in the 2020 season as well had found .
However, a draw against their fellow contenders will give them hope, particularly at home, and De Biasi will be looking to find the bull’s eye with his side while hoping to lift them from the bottom of the table in the process.
As already mentioned, the guest from Belarus also had problems in the first three duels of the 2020 Nations League campaign.
Georgi KondratievOn Friday, the Kazakhstan team was able to prevail in front of goal, but Vladislav MalkevichSix minutes before the end, the goal was enough to win a point against the group leader.
The point means Belarus sit third ahead of their hosts on Monday thanks to a points advantage after last week’s draw between the two teams.
The struggles for June caps so far stand in contrast to Belarus’ actions in recent months, as they recorded three straight wins over Jordan, India and Bahrain between November 2021 and March this year, albeit in international friendlies against weaker opponents .
Having conceded just two goals in their last five games in all competitions, Kondratiev has put together a well-rehearsed squad in recent months, meaning they remain a tough side to beat regardless of the competition of late.
Therefore, should they manage to score in Baku on Monday, they will be well-equipped to pick up the crucial three points in their battle against an opponent to avoid relegation to League D in the Nations League, which is also in the grappling with his own struggles in the final third of the pitch.
Form of Azerbaijan Nations League:
Azerbaijan Form (all competitions):
Form of Belarus Nations League:
Belarusian form (all competitions):
De Biasi gave an unchanged line-up for Friday’s narrow defeat by Slovakia, having made only a few changes on Matchday 2.
Therefore, despite capping June’s internationals with a fourth game in quick succession, the Azerbaijani boss is unlikely to stray too far from his consistent 3-5-2 formation on Monday.
As a result captain Maksim Medvedev will attempt to win his 81st cap for his country in the role of right-back Bedavi Huseynov will represent his country for the 63rd time as a replacement for the 19-year-old Jalal Huseynov in the back three.
Renat Dadasov should be partners Ramil Sheydaev back in attack, although the former has failed to score in his first 15 caps for Azerbaijan.
Kondratiev also tends to use a back three for the guests, but likes to switch between the variants 3-4-3 and 3-5-2.
Malkevich and Valery Gromyko scored well off the bench against Kazakhstan on Friday, so both are likely to be promoted to the starting XI.
Overall, several changes are expected from Kondratiev, with the Belarusian coach often opting to change his line-up amid the busy fixture schedule in recent weeks.
Azerbaijan possible starting line-up:
Mahamadaliyev; B Huseynov, Mustafazada, Haghverdi; Medvedev, Makhmudov, Silvestre, Nazarov, Salahli; Dadasov, Sheydaev
Belarus possible starting line-up:
Pavlyuchenko; Khadarkevich, Volkov, Yudenkov; Shevchenko, Yablonsky, Gromyko, Malkevich; Bykov, Bogomolski, Ebong
We say: Azerbaijan – Belarus 1:0
As already indicated above, this should be a close duel in group C3 on Monday evening between two teams that urgently need the points after poor form runs.
Confidence is likely to be low in both camps, particularly in the final thirds of the pitch, so goals are likely to be very high, with home advantage potentially proving crucial for Azerbaijan to take all three points by a narrow margin.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their tried and true football tips.Under 3.5:Data