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Metalist set for Sporting showdown

Published: Friday 30 March 2012, 6.05CET
FC Metalist Kharkiv have won plenty of friends with their cavalier style in the UEFA Europa League as they take on Sporting Clube de Portugal in their quarter-final decider.
Metalist set for Sporting showdown
Metalist dressing room ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored27
Attempts on target70
Attempts off target59
Fouls committed205
Yellow cards33
Red cards2

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Published: Friday 30 March 2012, 6.05CET

Metalist set for Sporting showdown

FC Metalist Kharkiv have won plenty of friends with their cavalier style in the UEFA Europa League as they take on Sporting Clube de Portugal in their quarter-final decider.

A late goal in the first leg has given FC Metalist Kharkiv hope as they look to eliminate Sporting Clube de Portugal in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final decider.

• Sporting looked to be cruising after Marat Izmailov (51) and Emiliano Insúa (64) put them 2-0 up, but Metalist captain Cleiton Xavier converted an added-time penalty to throw a different complexion on the contest.

Previous meetings
• This tie is the sides' first meeting in UEFA club competition.

• Metalist won 1-0 away against Sporting's Lisbon rivals SL Benfica in their only previous match against Portuguese opponents, in the group stage of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup. That result on 18 December 2008 saw Myron Markevich's side finish top of their group, with current Metalist players Oleksandr Goryainov, Milan Obradović, Papa Gueye, Edmar and Marko Dević all involved.

• Sporting have won all five of their previous games against Ukrainian sides, defeating FC Dynamo Kyiv and FC Shakhtar Donetsk home and away in UEFA Champions League group stage games.

• Sporting defender Anderson Polga scored his first goals for the club in the 2007/08 fixtures against Dynamo – from open play in a 2-1 win in Kyiv and from the spot in a 3-0 win in Lisbon.

Match background
• Markevich's Metalist have reached a new European high by making it to the last eight; their best previous season saw them losing out on away goals to domestic rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16.

• Sporting have reached the quarter-finals once since losing the 2004/05 UEFA Cup final 3-1 against PFC CSKA Moskva in Lisbon, bowing out to Rangers FC in 2007/08.

• Sporting have won only once in their last nine European away games, 2-0 at FC Zürich in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage. Their record in that run has been W1 D3 L5.

Sporting are unbeaten in 11 European home games – ten wins and a draw – since a 2-0 loss to Brøndby IF in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

Team facts
• Metalist defender Marco Torsiglieri played for Sporting last season; the Argentinian joined the Lions from CA Vélez Sársfield in the summer of 2010, but moved on to Metalist – initially on loan – last summer, securing a permanent move to Ukraine in December. He played 16 league games for Sporting and five more in the UEFA Europa League.

• Metalist are not short of Portuguese speakers: Fininho, Edmar, Marlos, Cleiton and Taison were all born in Brazil.

• Metalist are the competition's top scorers with 26 goals – three more than their nearest challengers, Club Atlético de Madrid and FC Schalke 04.

• The Ukrainian side finish games powerfully; nine of those 26 goals came between the 76th minute and the final whistle.

• Metalist defender Papa Gueye and AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban are the only players to have played in a maximum 990 minutes of this season's competition.

• Along with Gueye, Cristian Villagra has started all 11 of Metalist's games since the start of the group stage. Stijn Schaars has been the only ever-present for Sporting.

• Emiliano Insúa and José Ernesto Sosa are international team-mates with Argentina.

• Sporting's Ricky van Wolfswinkel earned his only cap for the Netherlands against Ukraine, a 1-1 draw in Donetsk on 11 August 2008, in which he came up against Metalist's Oleksandr Romanchuk.

• Portugal and the Netherlands – who could feature Van Wolfswinkel and team-mate Schaars – will be in Ukraine this summer for UEFA EURO 2012. Portugal, most likely featuring Sporting's Rui Patrício and João Pereira, meet the Netherlands in their last Group B game at Metalist Stadium on 17 June.

• Metalist coach Markevich is a keen student of the game – he has made trips to study Fabio Capello, Christoph Daum and Carlo Ancelotti – and is also an able pianist. Having been in charge of Metalist since 2005, he was named Ukraine coach on his 59th birthday in February 2010 but stepped down that August to focus solely on his club duties.

• Domingos Paciência was dismissed as Sporting coach at the start of February, having led SC Braga to last season's UEFA Europa League final, where they lost 1-0 to FC Porto in Dublin.

• Youth coach Ricardo Sá Pinto, 39, was named Paciência's replacement. The former Portugal forward had two spells with Sporting (1994-97, 2000-06) and played abroad with Real Sociedad de Fútbol and R. Standard de Liège.

• Sá Pinto featured in two 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine. He was a starter in Kyiv as Portugal lost 2-1 on 5 October 1996 and also at Porto in his team's 1-0 win on 9 November 1996.

Final rounds
• The winners will take on FC Schalke 04 or Athletic Club in the semi-finals, playing the first leg at home. Whoever prevails in that tie will be the nominal away side in the final in Bucharest's National Arena on 9 May.

• Metalist have never played in Bucharest, while Sporting lost in their only previous visit to the Romanian capital.

• Sporting eliminated Athletic from the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round, winning 4-2 on aggregate.

• Of the sides they could meet in the final, Atlético are the only one Sporting have encountered before, losing on away goals in the round of 16 in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League, which the Spanish side went on to win.

• Metalist have never met either of their potential semi-final opponents. Should they reach the final, there is a chance they could meet a side they have played before, AZ Alkmaar, who they twice drew 1-1 against in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

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

Last updated: 19/04/12 21.09CET