UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|SL Benfica||Estádio do SL Benfica - LisbonThursday 29 October 2020|
21.00CET (20.00 local time) Group D - Matchday 2
|R. Standard de Liège|
Benfica's unbeaten home record in the UEFA Europa League will be put to the test by Standard Liège on Matchday 2 in Lisbon.
• A hat-trick from Benfica's Uruguayan summer signing Darwin Núñez on his first European start helped his new club to an opening 4-2 victory at Lech Poznań, while Standard kicked off their Group D campaign with a disappointing 0-2 defeat at home to Rangers.
• Although the clubs have never previously met in a UEFA contest, this is Benfica's 20th match against a Belgian side. The Eagles have never lost at home to a visiting team from the country (W7 D2), winning the last five, with Standard's erstwhile city rivals RC Liégeois the last to avoid defeat, drawing 1-1 in Lisbon in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup second round to complete a 3-2 aggregate success.
• Standard drew in Portugal last season, holding Vitória Guimarães 1-1 on Matchday 5 of the UEFA Europa League. That made their record in the country W1 D2 L2, with no wins in the last four visits, although the victory – 3-2 against Sporting CP in the second round first leg of the 1958/59 European Champion Clubs' Cup, Standard's debut continental campaign – came on their only previous trip to Lisbon.
• Runners-up to Porto in the 2019/20 Portuguese Liga and Taça de Portugal, Benfica's bid to make it 11 successive appearances in the UEFA Champions League proper foundered on entry in this season's third qualifying round when they lost 2-1 at PAOK. They are therefore competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time since the competition's inaugural 2009/10 season, when they topped their section and went on to reach the quarter-finals.
• Despite their extended absence from this juncture of the competition, Benfica have played more matches in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase than any other club (40) and were runners-up in both 2012/13 – to Chelsea – and 2013/14 – to Sevilla. They were participants also in the past two seasons, reaching the quarter-finals in 2018/19 but falling in the round of 32 for the first time last term, against Shakhtar Donetsk (1-2 a, 3-3 h).
• The Eagles have never been beaten at home in the UEFA Europa League – a run of 23 matches, qualifying included, that comprises 19 victories. Their three group stage games in Lisbon in 2009/10 all ended in victory.
• Standard were placed fifth in the 2019/20 Belgian First Division A when it was called to a halt in March. Knocked out of last season's UEFA Europa League at the group stage, they came through three qualifying rounds this season under new coach Philippe Montanier – all at home, against Bala Town (2-0), Vojvodina (2-1 aet) and Fehérvár (3-1) – to secure an eighth appearance in the competition proper, matching Club Brugge's Belgian record.
• The Liege club have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage in six previous campaigns, but have only once made further progress, at the first attempt in 2011/12, when they reached the round of 16. They were also quarter-finalists in the inaugural 2009/10 season after switching over mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League. Last season they finished third in Group F with eight points, behind Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt.
• Standard have lost 12 of their 23 away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (W4 D7), a 3-0 success at Panathinaikos in the 2016/17 group stage the sole victory in their last 17 such outings.
Links and trivia
• Mehdi Carcela ended his first spell with Standard when he left for Benfica in 2015/16, scoring three goals in 29 games in all competitions for the Lisbon club. The Moroccan midfielder is an international team-mate of Benfica's Adel Taraabt.
• Standard's Croatian striker Duje Čop played for Nacional in the 2008/09 Portuguese Liga, but made only five appearances for the Madeira outfit and did not face Benfica.
• Benfica's Belgian goalkeeper Mile Svilar started his career with Standard's rivals Anderlecht. He is a regular Belgian Under-21 squad member, where he has operated alongside Standard trio Zinho Vanheusden, Samuel Bastien and fellow keeper Arnaud Bodart.
• Another Belgian in the Benfica squad is summer signing Jan Vertonghen, although he never played senior football in his homeland and has not faced Standard in any of his 100 appearances in European club competition.
• Benfica defender Jardel's next UEFA club competition appearance will be his 50th.
• Benfica are one of six former European Cup winners in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, the others being PSV Eindhoven (Group E), Celtic and AC Milan (H), Feyenoord (K) and Crvena zvezda (L).
• Standard's seventh appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage is a record for a Belgian club, one more than Anderlecht and Club Brugge.