Preview: Kazakhstan vs. Belarus

Kazakhstan play host to Belarus on Thursday knowing that victory will be enough to secure promotion to the second tier of the UEFA Nations League.

Meanwhile, Belarus head into their remaining two fixtures in League C Group 3 aware that they need at least one win to avoid the relegation play-outs.Belarus' Vitali Lisakovic celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates on March 27, 2021

Having gone from September 2020 to November 2021 without a win, Kazakhstan were not necessarily the most confident of teams heading into the next year, but Magomed Adiyev is now overseeing a sharp improvement in fortunes.

The Hawks have collected 10 points from a possible 12 in League C Group 3, establishing a four-point lead over pre-tournament group favourites Slovakia with two games remaining.

As well as only conceding two goals, Kazakhstan are unbeaten at the same time that the other three teams in the group have each suffered two defeats apiece.

Kazakhstan will not get carried away as they bid to earn a spot at League B for the first time in their history, but they have been provided with the ideal two games to get over the line.

However, Belarus are the only team to take points off Kazakhstan, scoring a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw back on June 10.

Despite sitting at the bottom of the group, Belarus will argue that their campaign is not as bad as it seems when looking at the table.

Draws have been earned against each of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, while they only suffered a 1-0 defeat to Slovakia on matchday one.

The result which could ultimately make the difference between survival and an appearance in the relegation play-outs came last time out as they lost 2-0 in Azerbaijan.

Georgy Kondratyev’s team now face their toughest two fixtures in the group having scored just once in their previous four games.

Team News

With Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov back in the Kazakhstan squad, the star man could be deployed on the left flank ahead of Yan Vorogovsky.

Barring any late withdrawals, the rest of the team could remain the same with Adiyev having little reason to make changes to his starting XI.

Yegor Bogomolsky could be handed an opportunity down the centre of the Belarus attack in place of Ivan Bakhar.

Pavel Savitskiy, who was missing last time out, will likely return to the side to replace Vladislav Malkevich on the left flank.

Artyom Bykov is also in line to return in midfield, potentially taking the spot of Valery Bocherov, but the defence could remain the same given Belarus’ respective record in that area of the pitch.

Kazakhstan possible starting lineup:
Shatskiy; Gabyshev, Alip, Mahiy, Marochkin, Dosmagambetov; Astanov, Darabaev, Tagybergen, Vorogovskiy; Aymbetov

Belarus possible starting lineup:
Pavlyuchenko; Shevchenko, Politevich, Khadarkevich, Pechenin; Ebong, Bocherov, Yablonskiy, Savitski; Klimovich; Bogomolsky

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