Slovakia disappointed again in their second match of World Cup qualifiers when they took just a point in a 2:2 home draw against underdogs from Malta.
They showed very little creativity during the first part and were caught up by surprise, conceding two in the 16th and the 20th minute. Luckily, the hosts pulled themselves together in the continuation, visibly appearing better on the field, reducing over Strelec in the 49th, and leveling up just four minutes later when Skriniar was effective.
Overly looking, the Slovaks missed a great opportunity for three points, and now have two draws behind them since the begging of the campaign.
Slovakia will miss defender Gyomber (28/0, Salernitana), Vavro (11/1, Huesca), Mazan (11/0, Karvina), midfielders Stoch (60/6, Zaglebie Lubin), Sabo (18/0, Rizespor), and forward Safranko (10/0, Sepsi).
The Russians are looking confident on their road to Qatar, as they were victorious in both matches since the begging of the qualifiers, last time out in Sochi against Slovenia with a 2:1 result.
Both squads were looking good during the first part when all the goal-scoring action in this occurred. The hosts were slightly better at the finishing, as they took the double lead over Dzyuba who scored two times in the 26th and the 35th, while just a minute later, the guests responded over Ilicic.
Each of the sides approached the second part, seemingly without the momentum from the first, and it wasn’t surprising that we haven’t witnessed more action in a match that had great potential for it.
The guests miss goalkeeper Guilherme (16/0, Lokomotiv Moscow), midfielders Zobnin (33/0, Spartak Moscow), Cheryshev (30/12, Valencia), Yerokhin (26/1, Zenit) and Miranchuk (19/3) comparing to previous call-ups.
No clean sheets
As mentioned, the Russians are looking quite confident since the begging of the campaign, and their victory is quite reasonably expected by the bookies. However, in my opinion, there is much more with Slovakia that meets the eye, and even though their victory would come as a great surprise, I am certain that they have a lot to prove and will give their best this time, against the opponent that isn’t rock-solid at the back either.