Three sides go into Matchday 4 boasting perfect records in the UEFA Europa League, but many more hold realistic hopes of reaching the knockout phase as the group stage reaches the home straight.
Sporting Clube de Portugal, FC Salzburg and FC Shakhtar Donetsk are yet to drop a point, with the Ukrainian side once again in full stride as they mount a determined defence of the trophy they won last season. They have scored four goals in each of their Group J games so far and coach Mircea Lucescu has called on the competition's leading scorers to keep their foot on the pedal at Toulouse FC tonight. "We have to continue our good displays," he said.
Shakhtar hold a five-point lead at the top of Group J, but elsewhere things are a lot tighter. Only two points divide the top three in Groups C, E and H with key fixtures ahead in each section, while the two top meet in Group I with Everton FC determined to avenge their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of SL Benfica a fortnight ago. "It's important for us because we were beaten up pretty bad over there," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "We want to advance out of this group and the best way is to get a result. There is a point to prove to ourselves: we don't want anything like that to happen again."
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