The UEFA Europa League's most prolific remaining teams meet in the semi-finals with FC Porto looking to improve on a shaky recent home record against Spanish opponents as Villarreal CF come calling.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Porto have played 34 games against Spanish sides in UEFA competition with the record W11 D5 L18 (W6 D3 L7 in Porto).
• Porto's eight home matches against Spanish sides since the turn of the millennium have ended with just one win for the home side, the complete record reading W1 D3 L4. However, they have not lost in their last five games in Spain, recording three wins and two draws.
• Porto lost 2-1 to Villarreal's near neighbours Valencia CF in the 2004 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco; the Yellow Submarine's Carlos Marchena started for Valencia in that game.
• Marchena had previously spent the 2000/01 season at SL Benfica, recording a win, a draw and a defeat in three games against Porto.
• Porto have met Spanish sides in two previous UEFA competition semi-finals. They lost 3-0 to FC Barcelona in the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League, contested over one leg at the Camp Nou, but beat RC Deportivo La Coruña 1-0 on aggregate in the 2003/04 last four en route to winning the UEFA Champions League under José Mourinho, when current coach André Villas-Boas was part of the technical staff.
• Villarreal's Joan Capdevila was an unused substitute for Depor in both legs of that fixture.
• Villarreal have played only two previous games against Portuguese opponents, drawing 1-1 at home against Benfica in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage then winning 1-0 away, with midfield stalwart Marcos Senna scoring the only goal.
• Porto have won their last four European games, scoring ten goals in their quarter-final success against FC Spartak Moskva.
• Villarreal are unbeaten in eight European matches – seven wins and a draw – since losing 1-0 at PAOK FC in the group stage.
• Porto have lost only one of their last eight European home games, going down 1-0 against Sevilla FC in the UEFA Europa League round of 32. They have won six of the other seven games in that run.
• Villarreal have not lost in their last four fixtures on their European travels, winning three and drawing one.
• Porto are the competition's top scorers with 29 goals since the start of the group stage. They are slightly more dangerous after the interval, when 18 of those goals have been scored, nine between the 76th minute and the final whistle.
• Villarreal's 23 goals since the start of the group stage have been split fairly evenly between both halves. They have yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a game, but have made up for that with nine between the 31st minute and the half-time interval.
• Villarreal are making only their second appearance in a major European semi-final; they lost 1-0 over two legs to Arsenal FC in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League last four.
• This tie features the competition's two top scorers; Porto's Falcao leads the way with 11 goals, while Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi has scored ten.
• Porto goalkeeper Helton and his Villarreal counterpart Diego López are the only players to have featured in all 1080 minutes of the UEFA Europa League campaign since the start of the group stage.
• Alongside Helton, João Moutinho and Hulk have featured in all 12 of Porto's games, while Borja Valero, Bruno Soriano and Rossi have featured in Villarreal's dozen matches alongside goalkeeper López.
• Porto's Falcao and Fernando Belluschi played alongside Villarreal's Marco Ruben and Mateo Musacchio at CA River Plate in 2007. Porto's Walter and Villarreal's Nilmar were team-mates at Brazilian outfit SC Internacional from 2007 to 2009.
• Both Porto and Villarreal started the season in the UEFA Europa League group stage. Benfica and Braga, the other semi-finalists, both commenced their campaigns in the UEFA Champions League group stage, meaning sides that began in different competitions will contest the showpiece.
• There was a similar situation in last season's inaugural UEFA Europa League final, with UEFA Champions League group stage contenders Club Atlético de Madrid overcoming UEFA Europa League group stage challengers Fulham FC in the decider.
• Should Porto progress, they will take on Liga rivals Benfica or Braga in the final. Seven UEFA Cup finals were contested by sides representing the same national association.
1971/72: Tottenham Hotspur FC 3-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (agg)
1979/80: Eintracht Frankfurt 3-3 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (agg; Eintracht won on away goals)
1989/90: Juventus 3-1 ACF Fiorentina (agg)
1990/91: FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 AS Roma (agg)
1994/95: Parma FC 2-1 Juventus (agg)
1997/98: FC Internazionale Milano 3-0 S.S. Lazio
2006/07: Sevilla FC 2-2 RCD Espanyol (aet; Sevilla win 3-1 on penalties)
• Three Portuguese sides are in the semi-finals, but this is not unprecedented. Indeed, all four 1979/80 UEFA Cup semi-finalists represented the same nation, West Germany.
• Villarreal's last goal against FC Twente in the quarter-finals was their 100th in what was their 56th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League game. They are three shy of conceding their 50th in the competitions.
• Porto need two more goals to make it to 450 in UEFA club competition. This will be their 296th UEFA game.
• The tie concludes in Villarreal on 5 May. The overall winners will be the nominal home side in the UEFA Europa League final at the Dublin Arena on 18 May.
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