UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Paços aim to prolong fairy tale against Zenit

Newcomers FC Paços de Ferreira face FC Zenit in their play-off first leg hoping to transfer Portuguese football's latest romantic story on to the European stage.

Costinha and Maniche tasted UEFA Champions League glory with Porto
Costinha and Maniche tasted UEFA Champions League glory with Porto ©Getty Images

UEFA Champions League newcomers FC Paços de Ferreira face FC Zenit hoping to transfer Portuguese football's romantic story of last season on to the European stage.

• Paços earned an unprecedented third-place finish in the 2012/13 Liga to qualify for the play-off round and now take on Zenit at FC Porto's ground.

• Zenit, the 2008 UEFA Cup winners, will look to bring their greater experience to bear and in former Porto striker Hulk have a player who should feel at home at the Estádio do Dragão.

Match background
• Paços had never before finished higher than sixth in Portugal's top flight before last term's remarkable campaign under Paulo Fonseca; the coach subsequently departed for Porto and was replaced by Costinha.

• Costinha has a UEFA Champions League winners' medal from Porto's 2004 triumph, although his team have a more modest pedigree having only scored one goal in Europe.

• Paços made their European debut in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round, losing 1-0 on aggregate to AZ Alkmaar. Their solitary goal came in UEFA Europa League qualifying in 2009/10 as they overcame FC Zimbru Chisinau 1-0 on aggregate, but then lost 2-0 on aggregate to Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC in the third qualifying round.

• The 2012/13 Russian runners-up, Zenit are bidding for a fourth group stage appearance having participated in 2008/09, 2011/12 and 2012/13.

• Luciano Spalletti's men finished third in their group last season and went on to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16 before losing to FC Basel 1893. Away from home in Europe they suffered four defeats in five matches.

• Zenit have never won in Portugal and lost their two previous two-legged contests with Liga opposition. They went down 5-4 on aggregate to CD Nacional in a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League play-off and fell 4-3 to SL Benfica in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16, losing away 4-3 and 2-0 respectively. The only time they avoided defeat was a 0-0 draw with Porto at the Dragão in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Zenit, who beat Denmark's FC Nordsjælland 6-0 on aggregate in the third qualifying round, have played in only one UEFA Champions League play-off, losing to AJ Auxerre in 2010/11.

Team ties
• As AS Roma coach, Spalletti faced Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 2007/08 group stage, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 2-2 in Lisbon.

• Costinha and assistant coach Maniche were in the Portugal team that beat a Russia side including Vyacheslav Malafeev, Aleksandr Anyukov and Andrey Arshavin 7-1 in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Lisbon in October 2004.

• Four months earlier Maniche had scored his first international goal as he and Costinha helped Portugal to a 2-0 win over the Russia of Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Vladimir Bystrov and Malafeev in the UEFA EURO 2004 group stage.

• Costinha and Maniche played in Porto's 0-0 home draw and 1-0 away win against PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Costinha and Maniche played with Danny at FC Dinamo Moskva from 2006 to 2008.

• Danny had five years in Portugal with CS Marítimo (2000-2002) and Sporting (2002-2005), playing five times against Paços without scoring.

• Luís Neto was in the SC Varzim youth ranks when Nuno Santos played for the club in 2004/05. Neto scored for Nacional in a 2-2 draw with Paços in a 2011/12 Portuguese Cup fourth-round tie that his team won on penalties. The Paços side included António Filipe, André Leão, Manuel José, Filipe Anunciação,and Rui Caetano.

• Hulk spent four seasons at Porto from 2008 to 2012. In 99 league games he scored 54 goals, including five goals in ten matches in all competitions against Paços. In 2009 he helped Porto beat Paços 2-0 to win the Portuguese Super Cup, but was sent off against them a week later on the opening day of the league campaign.

• Sérgio Oliveira played with Hulk at Porto in 2008/09 and 2009/10.

• Rui Miguel made four league outings on loan at FK Krasnodar in 2011, scoring one goal.

• In his only full season at Benfica in 2011/12, Alex Witsel faced Paços twice in the league and won both matches.

Selected for you