Kosovo vs Malta - Easy home win predicted in Pristina

Kosovo can continue their resurgence at Malta's expense
Kosovo's fans will be in full voice at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium (Getty Images).
Kosovo's fans will be in full voice at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium (Getty Images).

Kosovo vs Malta Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips


Kosovo will be confident of keeping their unbeaten start in the UEFA Nations League alive against Malta on Thursday night. With a hostile crowd expected to play a part at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Pristina, expect Kosovo’s key players to make the difference against a road weary Malta.

Kosovo


The newly appointed FIFA nation had a horror 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, losing nine of their 10 games and scoring just three goals. However, manager Bernard Challandes took over in March and has transformed Kosovo into a competitive team, unbeaten in their five matches under the Swiss boss.

Kosovo beat Madagascar 1-0, Burkina Faso 2-0, Albania 3-1 in friendlies before getting their UEFA Nations League campaign underway. A 0-0 draw in Azerbaijan and a 2-0 win against Faroe Islands was a solid start. Hardly top level opposition, but five clean sheets is a good foundation to build on.

Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu and Heerenveen forward Arbër Zeneli scored the goals against Faroe Islands. Zeneli scored twice against Albania and is in great form with five assists in his last four appearances in the Eredivisie.

The Dardanians will look to Lazio midfielder Valon Berisha and Werder Bremen winger Milot Rashica for leadership. Both players are shaking off injuries but will see this as a great chance for a run out.

Kosovo winger Arber Zeneli is in great form for his nation and Dutch Eredivisie club Heerenveen (Getty Images).


Malta


Malta have very little to be happy about, as the small island nation very rarely win games of football. The Falcons drew one and lost nine of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers and it hasn’t got much better since.

Friendly defeats against Estonia, Luxembourg, Finland and Georgia followed before the UEFA Nations League began. A 3-1 loss in the Faroe Islands with Michael Mifsud on the score sheet was followed by a 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan with Andrei Agius netting a penalty.

Apollon Limassol forward André Schembri needs to step up, but at 32-years-old, time is running out for him to make a difference on the national stage. Manager Ray Farrugia is up against it with a squad lacking top level talent.

Head-to-Head


Kosovo and Malta are meeting for the first time on Thursday.

Match Up


67-year-old Swiss manager Bernard Challandes didn’t do much after having some success at FC Zürich between 2007 and 2010. The early signs at Kosovo have been positive and seems to be a good fit. In contrast, Ray Farrugia is a rookie at the top level with a handful of games on his resume, none of them wins.

Kosovo's Valon Berisha recently signed for Lazio and will be a key player against Malta (Getty Images).

Kosovo’s wingers Milot Rashica and Arbër Zeneli will be a huge danger here and in Valon Berisha, the home side have the quality player in the game in a key position. 

Key Statistics


  • Kosovo have kept a clean sheet in their last 5 matches (All competitions).
  • Kosovo have won 5 and drawn 1 of their last 6 matches (All competitions).
  • Arbër Zeneli has scored 3 goals in his last 2 matches for Kosovo. 
  • Malta have lost 9 of their last 12 matches (All competitions).
  • Malta have lost 21 of their last 25 away matches (All competitions).
  • Malta have failed to score in 19 of their last 25 away matches (All competitions).

Verdict


Kosovo have strength on the wings with Milot Rashica and Arbër Zeneli likely to cause havoc in Pristina. Valon Berisha will run the show and I expect a comfortable home win. 

Malta are unlikely to get any joy in what will be a hostile atmosphere in Kosovo. 

Best Bet: Kosovo -1 Handicap @ 1.83 – 5 Units
Win to Nil: Kosovo Win to Nil @ 1.96 – 4 Units
Correct Score: Kosovo 2-0 @ 6.00 – 1 Unit
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Matthew Marshall 08 October 2018

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