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Czech capital gains the aim for Kiryat Shmona

Published: Monday 15 October 2012, 4.41CET
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC arrive in Prague to face AC Sparta Praha in with ambitions of recording a long-awaited away victory and ending the hosts' burgeoning unbeaten run in the Czech capital.
Czech capital gains the aim for Kiryat Shmona
Dušan Matović (left) helped Kiryat Shmona get at point in Bilbao ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Monday 15 October 2012, 4.41CET

Czech capital gains the aim for Kiryat Shmona

Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC arrive in Prague to face AC Sparta Praha in with ambitions of recording a long-awaited away victory and ending the hosts' burgeoning unbeaten run in the Czech capital.

AC Sparta Praha will look to extend their unbeaten home run in Europe to ten games as Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC head to the Czech Republic in UEFA Europa League Group I.

Previous meetings
• The sides have never met before. This is Sparta's first game against Israeli opponents and Kiryat Shmona's first encounter with a Czech club.

• Czech and Israeli clubs have met in seven previous UEFA ties, with honours even – two wins for each nation and three 1-1 draws. Most recently, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC eliminated FK Teplice in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• The Czech Republic won both of their senior international meetings with Israel (both friendlies) – 4-1 in Prague in 2000 and 2-1 in Graz in the run-up to UEFA EURO 2012.

Match background
• Kiryat Shmona's 4-3 loss to Olympique Lyonnais on matchday two was only their second home defeat in European competition, matching the margin of defeat in their previous one – 2-1 against PFC Litex Lovech in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

• Sparta are unbeaten in nine home games (W5 D4) in Europe since a 2-0 loss to MŠK Žilina in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League play-offs.

• Kiryat Shmona have not won a European away game since beating FK Mogren 3-0 in their first continental trip in July 2008. However, three of the five subsequent games have been draws, including a creditable 1-1 against last season's beaten finalists Athletic Club on matchday one.

Team facts
• Kiryat Shmona defender Lior Levi turns 25 the day after the game.

• Vitězslav Lavička represented Sparta in three spells as a midfielder in the 1980s and 1990s, and is now in his second term as the club's coach, following a spell in charge in 2008. Once coach of the Czech Under-21 side, he won the Australian title with Sydney FC in 2009/10 before returning to Prague in 2012.

• Kiryat Shmona changed coaches on the eve of matchday two, with Gili Landau standing aside after just over three months in charge, to be replaced by his assistant Barak Bakhar. The former defender, who only turned 33 in September, played for the club from 2004 to 2011, and this is his first senior coaching appointment.

• This is FARE Action Week, with UEFA giving its support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign. There are activities before each UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game which will be witnessed by thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions on television. A 30-second RESPECT TV spot and announcements over stadium loudspeakers will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to unite against racism in football. Every team will be accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts and captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband.

Last updated: 18/10/12 13.01CET

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