Malta host Ukraine on Tuesday evening, where they will look to pick up their first point of the qualifying campaign. When the two nations met in June, Ukraine won 1-0, thanks to a 72nd minute Viktor Tsygankov penalty.
Malta have lost all six of their games thus far, conceding 15 and scoring only once, which puts them bottom of the group. However, they haven’t been a complete push over in every game and the odd performance has been respectable. They are competing in a tough Group C and they are well and truly the underdogs in each fixture.
This week, they travelled to Italy and suffered an expected 4-0 defeat. Malta were dominated from the first whistle and their opponent made the breakthrough in the 22nd minute. Michele Marcolini’s side didn’t offer anything in attack all game and they were unable to register a shot on target. Italy’s quality and depth was ultimately the difference.
Serhiy Rebrov’s team have performed to quite a high standard so far in qualifying and this has put them in third place on ten points. Ukraine have only tasted defeat twice, which has come on the road against England and Italy. However, they have the best home record in Group C, picking up 70% of their points when hosting, they even held England to a 1-1 draw.
Ukraine’s most recent match was a 2-0 home victory over North Macedonia. The tie was rather end to end and the visitors enjoyed more possession, however only one nation looked like they were going to win the match. Ukraine opened the scoring on the half hour mark and were content with a counter attacking gameplan. They finished the tie one minute before full time, but on another day, the game could have been much more comfortable if they had converted the five big chances that they squandered.
There is no disguising the fact that Malta have struggled and it would be a huge surprise if they were to get anything out if this game. Ukraine have experience and quality, which will pull them over the line, even if their performance doesn’t meet Rebrov’s standards.
The final prediction is Malta 0-2 Ukraine.