Date: September 7, 2021
Time: 9:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Baku Olympic Stadium, Azerbaijan
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With an eye on the top spot of the FIFA World Cup European's qualification in Group A, Portugal will play Azerbaijan before September's international break comes to an end. While Portugal had eased to a 3-1 dominant win over Qatar in their last match, Azerbaijan who are the hosts for this fixture, claimed their first point of Qualifying with a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland in their last match.
Azerbaijan will miss the services of Anton Kryvotsiuk as he received a second booking of Qualifying last time. They could rope in rope in someone like Azar Salahly in his place. Other than that, they do not seem to have any fresh injury or availability concerns but it would be interesting to see whether De Biasi is tempted to go have a five-man defence strategy against a strong team like Portugal.
For Portugal, talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has been granted leave early to be with his Manchester United teammates. However, he was set to miss this game owing to a suspension anyway. In his absence, the team could see Andre Silva hold his place up top after netting in the friendly win over Qatar. Andre Silva holds his place up top after netting in the friendly win over Qatar are also expected to be back in the attack. Ruben Dias, Pepe and Joao Cancelo will all be back in the defence.
Azerbaijan will not mere pushovers for Portugal. What will also work in the hosts' favour is the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the absence of the record international goal-scorer means the likes of Andre Silva and Jota will be more than determined to shine for their national team. Although Portugal will have to work hard for their desired result of a win, they should be able to achieve that in this fixture on Tuesday night.
Probable Starting XI:
Mahammadaliyev, Huseynov, Medvedev, Haghverdi, Badalov, Salahly, Alasgarov, Qarayev, Mahmudov, Ozobic, Emreli
Patricio, Cancelo, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro, Palhinha, B Silva, Fernandes, R Silva, A Silva, Jota
Goalkeepers: Patricio, Mahammadaliyev
Defenders: Cancelo, Dias, Medvedev, Guerreiro
Midfielders: Fernandes, Mahmudov, Ozobic, B Silva
Forwards: Emreli, Jota, R Silva, A Silva
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