In Group C3 of the UEFA Nations League, Slovakia hosts Kazakhstan, hoping to build on their opening-match victories earlier this week.
Kazakhstan will take control if they win in Trnava, despite Slovakia being the favorites for promotion to Division B.
Slovakia will feel that they should not be playing at this level of the Nations League after competing at Euro 2020, but it should at least serve as encouragement to get back up the pyramid.
In their debut match against Belarus, Stefan Tarkovic’s team were not particularly convincing, but a goal from Tomas Suslov secured all three points at a neutral venue in Serbia.
Slovakia has won three of their previous four games, with clean sheets in both Malta and Finland.
Furthermore, they have only lost twice in eight games, and there is a sense that if they play to their full potential, they can easily defeat this group.
Kazakhstan, meanwhile, was playing with a lot more confidence after finally ending a 15-match losing drought across all competitions.
Since then, the opposition has been minimal, with a tight friendly win over Tajikistan followed by a two-legged Nations League playoff victory over Moldova on penalties.
Nonetheless, a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Friday seemed like a significant step forward in their progress, giving Magomed Adiyev something to work with after being named head coach of the country last month.
In Nur-Sultan, Abat Aymbetov scored both of Kazakhstan’s goals, his first for the country since November 2020.
Both sides are in fantastic form heading into this match, so we expect an exciting match. Despite the visitors’ upward trend, we cannot overlook Slovakia’s home advantage, which might prove pivotal in a game when they may have to come from behind.