Georgia and Kosovo will cross swords on Thursday, September 2, at Batumi Stadium for the first time in their history. This will mark Kosovo’s second match of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers, whereas it will mark Georgia’s fourth, having managed only one point from their last three.
Georgia vs Kosovo
When: Thursday, September 2 – 20:00 GET
Where: Batumi Stadium in Batumi, Georgia
Weather: Possible thunderstorm, 20°C
Referee: Mykola Balakin (UKR)
Neither team has ever played in the World Cup before, and looking at how they’ve been playing in the qualifiers; it’s fair to say that neither will be travelling to Qatar next year. Right now, Georgia and Kosovo occupy the bottom two places in Group B.
Georgia have one point after three rounds, which they have secured in round three of play when they played a 1-1 draw with Greece. Kosovo, meanwhile, have yet to lock in a point, but they have played only two games – against Sweden (0-3) and Spain (1-3).
Getting to one of the two top spots in the group table seems like a mission impossible for both of these teams. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be motivated tonight. On the contrary, we expect an inspired performance from both.
Georgia to Miss a Few Important Players
Georgia’s Levan Shengelia will miss the match due to a red card he has received against Spain in the second game of the World Cup qualifiers. The talented winger missed the 1-1 draw with Greece as well, but his team did okay even without him.
While Georgia should do fine without Shengelia, they will miss their creative midfielder, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has scored Georgia’s only two goals of the qualifiers against Greece and Spain. Unfortunately, he got injured in mid-August while playing for his club Rubin Kazan in the Russian Premier League.
Due to Kvaratskhelia’s absence, Georgia’s weakest link seems to be the offence. Manager Willy Sangnol has plenty of options, but his strikers don’t seem good enough. In fact, they have just seven international goals between them from a total of 33 appearances.
Kosovo Looking for the First Win in the Qualification for 2022 World Cup
Kosovo lost against Sweden (0-3) in the opening round of the World Cup 2020 qualifiers and followed that up with another heavy (1-3) loss against Spain. Both of those defeats were expected as their rivals were two of the toughest teams from Group B. However, it was shocking seeing Kosovo conceding three goals in each game.
That’s strange for several reasons, starting with the fact that they got a pretty decent goalkeeper in Samir Ujkani. Even though he hasn’t played much football in the last couple of years (The 2017-18 season was when he has last played more than one game per season), the 33-year-old surely still has his reflexes.
Another reason why conceding six goals in two games seems too much is that Kosovo’s defence is considered to be very solid with Megrim Vojvoda (Torino), Ibrahim Dresevic (Heerenveen), and Fidan Aliti (Zurich) playing in the back three.
The explanation why Kosovo allowed more goals than expected might be that they played a bit foo offensively, leaving vulnerable in the back. No surprise there, as coach Bernard Challandes has some amazing forwards at his disposal, most notably, Vedat Muriqi and Milot Rashica.
Georgia vs Kosovo Betting Pick
Kosovo arguably field a better team than Georgia, and it doesn’t help that the visitors will miss their star striker for today’s match. Without Kvaratskhelia, scoring a goal against Kosovo’s sturdy backline will be an issue, especially knowing how underwhelming his potential replacements have been with the ball.
Prediction: Kosovo +0.50 Asian Handicap – 1.86 at Sportmarket