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Valencia scent opportunity at Gent

Valencia will go in search of the win that could secure qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds when they visit Gent on matchday four.

Gent's Stefan Mitrović and Valencia's Paco Alcácer challenge for the ball at Mestalla
Gent's Stefan Mitrović and Valencia's Paco Alcácer challenge for the ball at Mestalla ©AFP/Getty Images

Valencia CF will go in search of the win that could secure qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds when they visit KAA Gent on matchday four.

• Valencia's 2-1 home victory against Gent last time out gave them a five-point advantage over Hein Vanhaezebrouck's men in Group H and means they can guarantee a last-16 berth if they win in Belgium and Olympique Lyonnais fail to beat leaders FC Zenit in the other game in the section.

Previous meetings
• The clubs have met previously in the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup when Valencia won the second leg 2-0 at Mestalla through goals from David Villa and Patrick Kluivert, following a goalless draw in Belgium.

• The lineups for that meeting in Ghent – at Gent's former home, the Jules Ottenstadion – on 17 July 2005 were:
Gent: Herpoel, Smoje, Lombaerts, Laybutt, Håkonsen, Cooreman, Mamouni, Vrancken (Tracjev 73), Boussoufa (Diop 86), Aliyu Datti (De Beule 86), Zoko (Mladenović 75).
Valencia: Cañizares, Ruz, Ayala, Moretti, Carboni, Rufete (Juanlu 86), Albelda, Albiol, Fábio Aurélio (Vicente 60), Di Vaio (Villa 66). Kluivert.

Match background

• The tournament newcomers will be out of the running for the last 16 if they lose to Valencia.

• Gent are still looking for their first win in the UEFA Champions League group stage at the fourth attempt, though they did earn a point from their opening home game in Group H – the 1-1 draw with Lyon on matchday one.

• Gent's only previous home game against Spanish opposition was a 1-1 home draw with Málaga CF in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup, which completed their 4-1 aggregate defeat. Alexandros Kaklamanos gave Gent a first-half lead but Julio Dely Valdés equalised two minutes into added time.

• Nuno Espírito Santo's team are looking to reach the round of 16 for the first time since the club's last participation in the UEFA Champions League in 2012/13.

• With their 1-0 victory at Lyon on matchday two, Valencia have won six of their last nine away games in UEFA competition.

• Valencia drew 0-0 at KRC Genk on their last visit to Belgium for a UEFA Champions League group stage fixture in 2011/12. Sofiane Feghouli, Daniel Parejo and Pablo Piatti all played that night.

• Their record in Belgium is W1 D2 L2.

Coach and player links
• As an Everton FC player, Valencia assistant coach Phil Neville lost a UEFA Cup first round tie against R. Standard de Liège in 2008/09.

• Matthew Ryan played for Club Brugge KV between 2013 and 2015, winning the Belgian Cup last season. He saved a penalty from Nicklas Pedersen in a 3-1 victory for Brugge at Gent in December 2013 – although Pedersen did score against him twice that season. Ryan's overall record against Gent was W1 D2 L1.

• As a Malmö FF player, Erik Johansson suffered defeats both away (0-5) and at home (0-2) against Club Atlético de Madrid on matchdays three and four of last season's UEFA Champions League.

• Valencia's Zakaria Bakkali, who is not in the UEFA Champions League squad, is from Belgium and spent three years at the academy at Standard. He is a Belgium Under-21 colleague of Matz Sels, Hannes Van der Bruggen and Benito Raman and played for the senior Belgium side against Andorra on 13 October alongside Laurent Depoitre.

Match facts

• Depoitre and Kenneth Saief will incur a suspension with their next bookings. Brecht Dejaegere is available after serving a two-match ban.

• Gent have lost only two of their 18 games this season, both defeats coming in the UEFA Champions League.

• Vanhaezebrouck's side had conceded a goal in seven successive matches – since 23 September, when they beat KAS Eupen 3-0 in the Belgian Cup – before Saturday's 2-0 win at Oud-Heverlee Leuven.

• Uroš Vitas – who has had ankle and hamstring injuries this term – made his first appearance of the season on 27 October, coming on as a late substitute in the 2-1 success at KSC Lokeren OV.

• Valencia have scored just 11 goals in ten Liga encounters this season, three of them coming in the space of 17 minutes in Saturday's 3-0 derby win at home to Levante UD.

• Belgian forward Zakaria Bakkali, who won his first cap earlier this month, scored his first goal for Valencia against Levante.

• Rodrigo sustained a knee injury in the 2-1 defeat at Atlético on 25 October and will be out for three months.

• Ryan (knee) and Aymen Abdennour (hamstring) have returned to training following absences of two and one month respectively.

• Diego Alves (knee) is not due back until December.

• Feghouli and Abdennour are among 37 nominees for the 2015 African Footballer of the Year award. The recipient will be announced on 22 December.