|Attempts on target||37||8|
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Sporting Clube de Portugal coach Paulo Bento admitted his team would have to step up a gear if they are to put aside their poor record against Serie A opposition and gain a first-leg advantage against play-off rivals ACF Fiorentina in Lisbon.
Paulo Bento, Sporting coach
We want to win over the fans, we are not performing well and they
are not happy. To win without conceding would be ideal but if not, a 0-0 would not be a bad result. We will be facing a good side with strong collective organisation. Defensively they are always strong with good players up front. Against Italian sides having the ball is not a sign of control. They don't do that much but are always a step away from scoring and we have to prevent that by defending properly. Our aim is to impose our style of play and when we don't have the play to stop their key men giving us problems.
Cesare Prandelli, Fiorentina coach
We respect Sporting a lot. They have 50 years of history in European football. It will be an open tie and we don't feel we are favourites. Sporting play vertical football with lots of possession in midfield – they have good midfielders and attackers who play from deep. We are wary of them as a team rather than of any specific players, although they do have quality individuals. We've prepared in pre-season for these two matches and are very motivated to win through. With our new tactical approach [Cristiano Zanetti in place of Adrian Mutu] the team is better balanced and able to move the ball more quickly.
• Sporting have a miserable record against Italian sides having won just four of 23 matches. They at least boast the upper hand at home courtesy of three wins, six draws and two defeats.
• Fiorentina's record in Portugal reads one win, no draws and two losses, and they have prevailed in just one two-legged tie against a Portuguese club, beating SL Benfica 2-1 on aggregate in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
• Sporting are bidding to make their fourth consecutive group-stage appearance and have featured in the group stage five times overall. Their only previous experience of progressing through the qualifiers came against Beitar Jerusalem FC in 1997/98, while their two failures came against Italian sides – Udinese in 2005/06 and Inter three years before that.
• Fiorentina have twice appeared in the group stage, earning their place through qualifying on both occasions. They overcame SK Slavia Praha last season and RTS Widzew Łódź in 1999/2000.
How they reached the play-offs
• Runners-up in the Portuguese Liga last term, Sporting opened their bid against FC Twente in the third qualifying round. Following a goalless first leg in Lisbon, Twente took an early lead in the Netherlands but Sporting advanced on away goals after Peter Wisgerhof put through his own net in added time to make it 1-1.
• Prandelli's men booked their play-off round place by finishing fourth in Serie A last season, above Genoa CFC courtesy of a better head-to-head record.
Out: Marat Izmailov (tendinitis)
Misses next match if booked: Hélder Postiga, Miguel Veloso
Out: José Ignacio Castillo (meniscus)
Misses next match if booked: none
Last competitive results
15/08/09 CD Nacional 1-1 Sporting (Portuguese Liga)
(João Aurélio 27; João Aurélio og 75)
Did you know?
Sporting coach Paulo Bento played all 90 minutes and Viola striker Mutu was an unused substitute when Portugal downed Romania 1-0 at UEFA EURO 2000™.
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