UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Real Sociedad de Fútbol||Estadio de Anoeta - San SebastianThursday 29 October 2020|
21.00CET (21.00 local time) Group F - Matchday 2
Northern Spain takes on southern Italy as Real Sociedad and Napoli meet for the first time in UEFA competition on Matchday 2 of UEFA Europa League Group F.
• An added-time strike from substitute Jon Bautista gave Spanish Liga leaders Real Sociedad a dramatic 1-0 victory at Rijeka on Matchday 1. Napoli were shocked by AZ Alkmaar as they lost by the same score at the Stadio San Paolo, ending the Serie A side's six-match winning run at home in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Real Sociedad are yet to concede in two home games against Italian clubs, beating Internazionale 2-0 in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup first round (0-3 a) and drawing 0-0 with Juventus in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage (2-4 a).
• Napoli's 2019/20 European campaign was ended by a Spanish club as Barcelona overcame them in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 (1-1 h, 1-3 a), making their all-time record against Spanish clubs W4 D5 L7. In Spain it is W2 L6 with defeats on their last four visits, against four different clubs, the first La Real's local rivals Athletic Club who won 3-1 in Bilbao (after a first-leg 1-1 draw) to eliminate Napoli from the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League play-offs.
• A sixth-placed finish in the 2019/20 Spanish Liga secured a return to European football for Real Sociedad after a two-season absence. Imanol Aguacil's team also reached the final of the Copa del Rey, against Basque rivals Athletic Club, but that fixture has been postponed indefinitely.
• The San Sebastián club's most recent European campaign, in 2017/18, was also their only previous experience of the UEFA Europa League group stage. They qualified as runners-up behind Zenit, registering 12 points and 16 goals, before going out to Salzburg (2-2 h, 1-2 a) in the round of 32.
• Real Sociedad's run of 12 successive home wins in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League was brought to an end by Zenit on Matchday 6 in 2017/18 (1-3). The last team before the Russian side to have denied La Real victory on their own ground in this competition was Sporting CP in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup second round (0-0).
• After four successive seasons in the UEFA Champions League, Napoli are back in the UEFA Europa League group stage – the prize for winning the Coppa Italia, which they claimed under new coach Gennaro Gattuso after a shoot-out victory against Juventus in the final (0-0, 4-2 on pens). The Partenopei also reached the UEFA Champions League round of 16 last term, going out to Barcelona (1-1 h, 1-3 a) after qualifying unbeaten as runners-up to Liverpool in their group.
• Napoli have competed in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase on seven previous occasions, four times after coming through their group. They have never failed to qualify from their section and have progressed as group winners on the two most recent occasions, winning all six matches last time out in 2015/16 when they also set the current record for the most goals scored in a UEFA Europa League group (22).
• There have been just two wins for Napoli in their last ten European away fixtures (D4 L4), with defeats recorded in each of their last two UEFA Europa League encounters on the road – against Salzburg (1-3) and Arsenal (0-2) in the 2018/19 knockout phase.
Links and trivia
• Fabián Ruiz is a current Spanish international who played in his homeland for both Real Betis and Elche before joining Napoli in 2018. He is a national team-mate of Real Sociedad duo Mikel Merino and Mikel Oyarzabal.
• Another Spaniard on Napoli's books is Fernando Llorente, who played for Athletic Club (2004–13) and Sevilla (2015/16). Napoli's Slovakian midfielder Stanislav Lobotka also played in Spain for Celta Vigo from July 2017 to January 2020.
• Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad) and Dries Mertens (Napoli) both play for Belgium.
• Mertens' next UEFA Europa League appearance will be his 50th in the competition, group stage to final, making him just the 12th player to reach that landmark.
• Real Sociedad's Nacho Monreal and Napoli's David Ospina were colleagues at Arsenal from 2014 to 2018.
• Napoli are one of six former UEFA Cup winners in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage – along with Bayer Leverkusen (Group C), PSV Eindhoven (E), Tottenham (J), CSKA Moskva and Feyenoord (both K).