MATCH FORECAST

UEFA Nations League betting tips and odds for Saturday’s League C Group 1 clash between Azerbaijan and Montenegro, with everything still to play for between both sides.

The hosts currently sit third in the group table with a sketchy record of one win, two defeats and a draw. Topping the group is out of their hands and appears unlikely, but a result here could guarantee their place at this tier once again – getting caught by bottom-placed Cyprus would see them relegated and playing sides like San Marino and Liechtenstein next time out.

Having drawn 0-0 with Cyprus in their last competitive outing last month, they returned with another goalless draw in a friendly against Slovenia on Wednesday.

Visitors Montenegro looked to be sailing towards the top spot after three straight victories, including a comfortable 2-0 at home to Azerbaijan a month ago, but they suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Luxembourg last time out, leaving them both battling it out at the top of the group, tied on nine points. They returned to action with a goalless friendly draw with Kazakhstan in midweek.

Date & Time: 14/11/2020 at 22:30
Venue: Baku Olympic Stadium

Team News

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s entire squad is comprised of players that compete in the country’s own domestic league, heavy with individuals from perennial champions Qarabag, including goalkeeper Emil Balayev, defenders Maksim Medvedev and Badavi Huseynov and forward Mahir Emreli – all of whom are expected to feature here, making up a large part of the team’s spine.

The experienced Medvedev has scored one of their two goals in this competition thus far, the other coming from forward Ramil Sheydayev – the top-scoring player in this squad with five goals.

Araz Abdullayev, Rahman Hajiyev, Ali Qurbani, Sahruddin Mahammadaliyev, Emil Balayev, Aydin Bayramov, Badavi Huseynov, Abbas Huseynov, Tamkin Khalilzade, Anton Krivotsyuk, Bahlul Mustafazade, Amin Seydiyev, Elvin Badalov, Shahriyar Aliyev, Azer Salahli, Maksim Medvedev, Cosqun Diniyev, Qara Qarayev, Namig Alasgarov, Ismayil Ibrahimli, Elvin Jamalov, Rahim Sadikov, Vuqar Mustafayev, Mahir Emreli, Ramil Sheydaev

Playing XIs:

Emil Balayev, Bahlul Mustafazade, Anton Krivotsyuk, Badavi Huseynov, Elvin Jamalov, Abbas Huseynov, Ramil Sheydaev, Rahim Sadikhov, Namig Alasgarov, Tamkin Khalilzade, Mekhti Dzhenetov

Montenegro

Monaco’s Stevan Jovetić is Montenegro’s captain and all-time top scorer (27 goals from 56 appearances) and will remain the first name on the teamsheet as ever, having scored three times in this tournament so far, including the opener against Azerbaijan in the reverse fixture. Atletico Madrid’s Stefan Savić adds a touch of class at the other end.

Igor Ivanovic is another one to watch; having been called up for the first time last month, he scored in all three of his first appearances for his country and will hope to maintain that 100% record here.

They’ll be without attacker Marko Janković and defender Marko Simic here, however, both are suspended after being sent off in injury-time of the 2-1 defeat to Luxembourg last month.

Fatos Beciraj, Stevan Jovetic, Stefan Mugosa, Dino Islamovic, Danijel Petkovic, Milan Mijatovic, Matija Sarkic, Stefan Savic, Zarko Tomasevic, Adam Marusic, Igor Vujacic, Momcilo Raspopovic, Aleksandar Scekic, Nikola Vukcevic, Vladimir Jovovic, Marko Jankovic, Nebojsa Kosovic, Marko Bakic, Deni Hocko, Sead Haksabanovic, Vukan Savicevic, Marko Simic, Aleksandar Boljevic

Playing XIs:

Vladan Adzic, Marko Vukcevic, Igor Ivanovic, Vasko Kalezic, Branislav Jankovic, Milos Raickovic, Danijel Petkovic, Aleksandar Sofranac, Darko Bulatovic, Deni Hocko, Aleksandar Scekic

THE PREDICTION

With three wins from their first four matches, Montenegro have made a strong start to their Nations League C Group 1 campaign, and another victory this weekend against Azerbaijan could fire the Brave Falcons from second place to the top of the standings.

Montenegro – who have averaged just 1.0 goals per Nations League fixture so far – could find it difficult to cut through an Azerbaijan rearguard that kept three clean sheets in their last four assignments however.

Excitement levels in fact, have generally been low in Azerbaijan and Montenegro’s UNL respective tussles so far, and both teams saw under 2.5 goals hit the net in three of the four Group 1 matches they’ve contested since early September.

Saturday’s skirmish has all the makings of another low-scoring encounter, and the under 2.5 goals market again jumps out as the best avenue worth exploring for the game, while our correct score prediction backs Montenegro to force a valuable 1-0 win.

Faruk Hadžibegić’s side bested Azerbaijan 2-0 when the teams last met in Montenegro, though the Montenegrins might have to settle for single effort in Saturday’s rematch against a host defence on a run of three shutouts in four.

Azerbaijan 2-0 Montenegro

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