Porto coach Sérgio Conceição faces a club he once played for as Lazio travel to northern Portugal for the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off first leg.
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Porto coach Sérgio Conceição faces a club he once played for as Lazio travel to northern Portugal for the first leg of the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs.
• The Portuguese side failed to make it five successive qualifications from the UEFA Champions League group stage in the autumn as they lost their final Group B fixture 1-3 at home to Atlético de Madrid, who therefore went through at their expense. Lazio also endured disappointment in front of their own fans on Matchday 6 of the UEFA Europa League as they could only draw 0-0 in Rome against Galatasaray, thus remaining in second place behind their unbeaten Turkish opponents in Group E when a victory would have sent them straight through to the round of 16 as section winners.
• This is only the second time the clubs have been drawn together in UEFA competition. The first was in the semi-final of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup, when José Mourinho's Porto overcame Roberto Mancini's Lazio, coming from behind to win the first leg 4-1 in Portugal before holding their opponents to a goalless draw in Rome. Porto went on to lift the trophy, defeating Celtic in the Seville final.
• Porto have faced Italian opponents on 36 previous occasions with the record W11 D10 L15. At home the figures read W7 D6 L4, with victories in each of the last three matches – all in the UEFA Champions League, the most recent 2-1 against Juventus in the first leg of last season's round of 16, a tie Porto won on away goals (2-3 a aet).
• While Lazio are unbeaten at home by Portuguese visitors (W5 D1), they have lost four of their six matches in Portugal (W2), including the most recent, 1-2 at Sporting CP in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Porto's record in two-legged knockout ties against Italian opposition is W7 L4, while Lazio's against Portuguese teams is W3 L2. Porto have also lost their two European finals against Serie A sides – 2-1 to Juventus in the 1984 European Cup Winners' Cup and 1-0 to AC Milan in the 2003 UEFA Super Cup.
• Porto finished second in the 2020/21 Portuguese Liga, five points behind champions Sporting CP, and also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea with both matches played in Seville (0-2 h, 1-0 a).
• Porto recorded just five points in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage – eight fewer than last season – but were still in a strong position to finish second behind runaway leaders Liverpool in Group B going into their final fixture. However, that 1-3 loss to Atlético at the Estádio do Dragão left them in third place, two points behind the Spanish side but one ahead of fourth-placed AC Milan, against whom they registered their only win of the section, 1-0 at home on Matchday 3.
• This is the sixth time that Porto have participated in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Competition winners in their debut campaign, under André Villas-Boas in 2010/11, they have lost three of their round of 32 ties since then, making the latter stages only in 2013/14, when they were ousted in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Sevilla (1-0 h, 1-4 a).
• Porto have never won their opening home game in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase (D1 L4). The club's elimination from Europe in each of the last six seasons has come in ties in which they were defeated at home.
• Sixth in Serie A last term, Lazio therefore returned, under new boss Maurizio Sarri, for a record-equalling ninth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage this season. They spent 2020/21 under Simone Inzaghi in the UEFA Champions League, where they were eliminated by holders Bayern München in the round of 16 (1-4 h, 1-2 a).
• Lazio lost their opening UEFA Europa League Group E fixture 1-0 at Galatasaray but remained unbeaten thereafter, taking six points off Lokomotiv Moskva (2-0 h, 3-0 a) and two off Marseille (0-0 h, 2-2 a) before that closing goalless draw at home to the Turkish team, who therefore maintained their position three points ahead of Sarri's side.
• Runners-up to fellow Italian side Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, the Biancocelesti are competing in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the seventh time. Eliminated in three of the previous six campaigns in the round of 32, including last time around by Sevilla in 2018/19 (0-1 h, 0-2 a), their best performances in the competition came in 2012/13 and 2017/18 when they reached the quarter-finals.
• Lazio's victory at Lokomotiv on Matchday 5 ended the club's 11-game winless run on the road in Europe (D4 L7). They have lost three of their last four away games in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, where their overall record outside Rome is W2 D4 L5.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Galeno (Braga), Rúben Semedo (Olympiacos, loan), Stephen Eustáquio (Paços de Ferreira, loan)
Out: Jesús Corona (Sevilla), Luis Díaz (Liverpool), Nanu (Dallas, loan), Sérgio Oliveira (Roma, loan)
In: André Anderson, Jovane Cabral (Sporting CP, loan), Dimitrije Kamenović
Out: Tommaso di Fusco (Cosenza, loan), Gonzalo Escalante (Alavés, loan), Vedat Muriqi (Mallorca, loan), Michele Riosa (Ascoli)
Links and trivia
• Porto coach Conceição played for Lazio between 1998 and 2000 and again in 2003/04, winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Serie A and Coppa Italia during his first spell at the Rome club.
• Lazio's Felipe Anderson played ten games in all competitions for Porto while on loan at the club in 2020/21.
• Porto defender Iván Marcano spent the 2018/19 in Italy with Lazio's city rivals Roma, making ten Serie A appearances but none against Lazio.
• Marko Grujić (Porto) and Sergej Milinković-Savić (Lazio) are Serbian internationals.
• Grujić and Lazio's Lucas Leiva were at Liverpool together between 2016 and 2018.
• Cape Verde international Jovane Cabral joined Lazio on loan in January from Sporting CP, with whom he won the Portuguese Liga last season. He scored two late goals as a substitute for Sporting in a 2-1 Taça da Liga semi-final win against Porto in January 2021.
• Porto's January signing Galeno was the UEFA Europa League group stage's joint top scorer in the autumn with six goals for Braga.
• This is Lazio's 77th match in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final – only Villarreal (88) have played more.