Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Azerbaijan and Cyprus face each other at Elbasan Arena in what is expected to be a close encounter. Azerbaijan have been having their ups and downs in the Nations League, with the team beating Cyprus, while losing to Luxembourg and Montenegro. The Azeri aim to get back on course in Group 1, and they are likely to fight tooth and nail against Cyprus. The bad news for the visitors is that Qarabag attacker Mahir Emreli remains on the sidelines with injury.
The Cypriotes, on the other hand, are on a seven-game losing run in all competitions ahead of the trip to Baku. Johan Walem’s men are eager to give fans something to cheer about, and given Azerbaijan’s form, we believe that the two teams are going to share the spoils at Elbasan Arena. In their only previous meeting in the Nations League Azerbaijan defeated Cyprus 1-0.
Highlighted Player (Richard):
Richard is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a midfielder at Qarabag of Azerbaijan. Richard Almeida de Oliveira was born on March 20, 1989 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and he started his senior career at Santo Andre. After making only four appearances in the league for the Brazilian club, he signed a loan deal with Portuguese side Gil Vicente.
In 2012 he moved to Azerbaijan, signing a contract with Qarabag and he has been playing for the Atilar ever since. Richard impressed in his debut season with the club as he scored 13 goals in 30 appearances in the national championship for Qarabag. The 177-cm tall player made his Azerbaijan debut on June 10, 2017 in a 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland.
His main position is central midfield, but he is capable of playing as both attacking midfielder and a left winger as well. It has to be noted that Richard’s contract with Qarabag should expire on June 30, 2018.
Highlighted Team (Cyprus):
Cyprus’ first match took place back in July, 1949, only one year after they became a member of FIFA. The Cypriotes played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv and seven days later they played their first international game. Cyprus suffered a 3-1 loss to Israel in Tel Aviv back then and in November, 1960 they had their first official match as an independent country.
The Cyprus national football team shared the spoils with Israel in the 1962 World Cup qualifier and three years later they recorded their first international win (3-1 over Greece). Cyprus suffered their biggest loss on May 21, 1969, with the team losing to West Germany 12-0 and in 2000 they hammered Andorra 5-0 which is considered the team’s biggest win.
The Cypriotes have yet to qualify for the finals of the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship, but their victory over Bosnia in Zenica in the Euro 2016 qualifiers will be remembered. GSP Stadium in Nicosia is considered the national team’s home ground.