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Valencia v AS Monaco background

Valencia are eager to return to the UEFA Champions League group stage after a two-season absence as they take on an AS Monaco side who also have  a Portuguese coach.

Valencia are eager to return to the group stage
Valencia are eager to return to the group stage ©AFP/Getty Images

Valencia's UEFA Champions League play-off against AS Monaco will have a notable Portuguese accent, with the Spanish side eager to return to the group stage after a two-season absence.

Previous meetings
• Under Bernardino Pérez (aka Pasieguito), holders Valencia beat Gérard Banide's Monaco 5-3 on aggregate in the 1980/81 European Cup Winners' Cup first round, the teams' only previous official encounters.

• The clubs also met in a friendly at London's Arsenal Stadium on 2 August 2014, drawing 2-2, with Lucas Ocampos equalising nine minutes from time for Monaco.

Form guide
• Valencia had won all eight previous home games against French sides prior to a 2-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League round of 16.

• Monaco's away record in Spain reads W1 D1 L6, though that lone Spanish success was a big one; their 5-0 triumph at Deportivo La Coruña in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage remains their biggest margin of victory on their travels in UEFA competition.

• Both teams are contesting the UEFA Champions League play-offs for the first time. Monaco played in last season's group stage, while Valencia aim to return to the group stage after a two-season absence.

Links and trivia
• The two clubs have Portuguese coaches – Nuno Espírito Santo for Valencia and Leonardo Jardim for Monaco – and there are plenty of other Portuguese links between the sides.

• Valencia's Nicolás Otamendi and Monaco's João Moutinho claimed three Liga titles together at Porto from 2010–13.

• Moutinho's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 100th.

• Valencia's João Cancelo (2014–15), André Gomes (2012–15), Enzo Pérez (2011–15), Rodrigo Moreno (2010–15) and Monaco's Ivan Cavaleiro (2013–15), Bernardo Silva (2013–15), Hélder Costa (2014–) previously rubbed shoulders at Benfica.

• Cancelo, Cavaleiro and Silva also reached the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final with Portugal this summer.

• One of Valencia's most celebrated successes came against French opponents, Rafael Benítez's team beating Marseille 2-0 in the 2004 UEFA Cup final in Gothenburg.

• Valencia's Lucas Orbán (Bordeaux 2013–14) and French-born winger Sofiane Feghouli (Grenoble 2007–10) both have Ligue 1 experience, while Monaco's Fabinho (Real Madrid 2013), Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid 2010–13), Mario Pašalić (Elche 2014–15) and Jérémy Toulalan (Málaga 2011–13) have played club football in Spain.

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