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Legia take aim at Sporting

Published: Monday 9 January 2012, 8.00CET
Having come through the group stage at the first attempt, Legia Warszawa will hope for more beginners' luck against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
Legia take aim at Sporting
Legia coach Maciej Skorża ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 9 January 2012, 8.00CET

Legia take aim at Sporting

Having come through the group stage at the first attempt, Legia Warszawa will hope for more beginners' luck against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Sporting Clube de Portugal travel to Poland having just dismissed coach Domingos Paciência as they prepare to take on Legia Warszawa in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Previous meetings
• The clubs have been paired for the first time in UEFA competition having never met sides from their opponents' nation before.

• Polish clubs' 18 previous UEFA games against Portuguese teams have ended W3 D5 L10 (W3 D3 L2 in Poland).

• Sides from the two nations met in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32; KKS Lech Poznań beat SC Braga 1-0 at home but lost 2-0 in Portugal.

Match background
• Legia were unbeaten in six home games – three wins and three draws – before being defeated 3-0 by PSV Eindhoven on matchday five.

• Legia made it through the UEFA Europa League group stage at the first attempt this season; they have not played in the new year phase of a European competition since reaching the quarter-finals of the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League, where they drew 0-0 at home to Panathinaikos FC but lost the return 3-0.

• Sporting have scored only twice on the road in Europe this season, both goals coming in a 2-0 win at FC Zürich on matchday one; their away record this season is W1 D1 L2.

• The Lisbon outfit are competing in the round of 32 for the fifth time since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage in 2004/05, when they lost 3-1 against PFC CSKA Moskva in the final. They have only once failed to reach the round of 16, bowing out to Rangers FC on away goals last season.

Team facts
• Sporting's Rui Patrício (25) celebrates his birthday on the eve of this match.

• Diego Capel turns 24 on the day of the game; he has yet to play in a UEFA game on his birthday.

• Portugal and Poland will meet in a friendly on 29 February to mark the official opening of the Warsaw National Stadium, one of the host venues for UEFA EURO 2012.

• Legia defender Michał Żewłakow and Sporting's Stijn Schaars were on opposite sides in two 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage matches; Żewłakow's Olympiacos FC beat Schaars' AZ Alkmaar 1-0 at home and drew the return fixture 0-0.

• Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored three times in the Netherlands' 4-0 win against Poland in an October 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier, with Legia's Maciej Rybus on the losing side.

• Sporting's only previous Polish player was striker Andrzej Juskowiak, who represented the Lisbon side from 1992 to 1995.

• Only one player has been transferred between the clubs; Brazilian defender Edson spent the first half of 2005/06 with Sporting before joining Legia in the winter, helping them to win the title.

• Legia's Maciej Skorża took his first steps in management as a youth coach with the Warsaw club after a brief playing career as a defender. Skorża established his reputation with Amica Wronki, Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski and Wisła Kraków, where he won two Polish league titles.

• Sporting parted company with coach Paciência on Tuesday. He led SC Braga to last season's UEFA Europa League final, where they lost 1-0 to FC Porto in Dublin. Paciência has been replaced by youth team coach Ricardo Sá Pinto, who assumes a caretaker role.

• Paciência's Braga, also featuring Sporting defender Alberto Rodríguez, overcame Lech Poznań at this stage of the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, losing 1-0 away before a 2-0 victory in Portugal.

Round of 16
• The winners of this tie will take on either Sporting's Liga rivals FC Porto or Manchester City FC in the round of 16 on 8 and 15 March, playing the first leg at home. Neither side have met either of their potential opponents in UEFA competition.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here:

Last updated: 14/02/12 16.01CET

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