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Europa Conference League stats dive: masters of Matchday 1

Who made the most saves, crosses, clearances, ball recoveries and completed passes this week?

Conference League Matchday 1 Trendsetters
Conference League Matchday 1 Trendsetters

UEFA.com has a treasure trove of statistics covering many aspects of play to enhance the UEFA Europa Conference League, Europe's newest club competition.

In this piece presented by Swissquote, we sift through the Matchday 1 numbers to find there were more stand-out stars than just those registering goals and assists.

Check out the Conference League stats

Most passes completed

Highlights: Randers 2-2 AZ Alkmaar
Highlights: Randers 2-2 AZ Alkmaar

96: Bruno Martins Indi (AZ Alkmaar)
88: Petr Ševčík (Slavia Praha)
86: Pantelis Hatzidiakos (AZ Alkmaar)
86: Gianluca Mancini (Roma)
85: Aiham Ousou (Slavia Praha)

Centre-back Martins Indi set the tone for AZ Alkmaar in their 2-2 draw at Randers, racking up the most attempted (106) and completed (96) passes of any player on Matchday 1. Defensive partner Hatzidiakos was ten adrift on both counts – little wonder then that their side's totals in those categories were more than double their opponents' as they ended the game with 64% possession. Slavia also had two members of the top five following their 3-1 win against Union Berlin, including the highest-ranked midfielder in Ševčík.

Crosses completed

Highlights: Mura 0-2 Vitesse
Highlights: Mura 0-2 Vitesse

10: Maximilian Wittek (Vitesse)
6: Alessio Castro-Montes (Gent)
5: Andre Green (Slovan Bratislava)
5: Abbas Hüseynov (Qarabağ)
5: Kady (Qarabağ)

Mura were certainly forced on to the back foot on their group stage bow, a 2-0 defeat against the more-experienced Vitesse. The Dutch side's quality delivery into the box eventually paid dividends when Wittek's corner – one of his ten completed crosses – was headed in by Danilho Doekhi for the second goal. Kudos also to Qarabağ, who had two players in the top five, and to their opponents Basel for keeping a clean sheet in the goalless draw despite Hüseynov and Kady picking out a team-mate on five occasions each.

Balls recovered

Highlights: Qarabağ 0-0 Basel
Highlights: Qarabağ 0-0 Basel

14: Maksim Medvedev (Qarabağ)
12: Didier Kadio (Alashkert)
11: Fredrik Midtsjø (AZ Alkmaar)
11: Vitalii Vernydub (Zorya Luhansk)
10: Denis Polyakov (Kairat)
10: Marcos Senesi (Feyenoord)
10: Uche Henry Agbo (Slovan Bratislava)

That Basel blank was undoubtedly affected by the sterling work of Qarabağ centre-back Medvedev – incredibly, he recovered eight more balls than partner Kevin Medina. As for Alashkert, they lost their first-ever group game 4-1 at Maccabi Tel-Aviv, but that scoreline fails to reflect a much more even contest and a fine defensive showing from full-back Didier Kadio. A word too for Kairat's Polyakov and Feyenoord's Senesi, who both played pivotal roles in their clubs keeping clean sheets in their first outings.

Clearances

Highlights: Slavia Praha 3-1 Union Berlin
Highlights: Slavia Praha 3-1 Union Berlin

8: Bogdan Planić (Maccabi Haifa)
8: Robin Knoche (Union Berlin)
8: Lovro Cvek (Zorya Luhansk)
7: Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui (Gent)
7: Felix Luckeneder (LASK)
7: Simon Piesinger (Randers)
7: Macky Bagnack (Kairat)

Centre-back Planić was the resistor-in-chief as Maccabi Haifa held firm in their goalless draw with a relentless Feyenoord side, and the importance of his eight clearances is underlined by the fact that the other two players to reach that mark – Knoche and Cvek – were both on the end of 3-1 defeats. Gent stopper Ngadeu-Ngadjui was arguably the pick of the men with seven clearances, given he reached the same tally for balls recovered and helped keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 victory at Flora.

Most saves

Highlights: Flora 0-1 Gent
Highlights: Flora 0-1 Gent

6: Patrik Carlgren (Randers)
6: Matko Obradović (Mura)
6: Matvei Igonen (Flora)
5: Ognjen Čančarević (Alashkert)
5: Giorgi Loria (Anorthosis)
5: Alexandros Paschalakis (PAOK)
5: Heinz Lindner (Basel)

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said the Conference League "makes UEFA's club competitions more inclusive than ever before... with more associations represented in the group stages." Such experience will be invaluable for the eight teams making their first-ever appearance in a UEFA competition group stage. Indeed, the step up in class is highlighted by the fact that the first four names on this list play for sides tasting action at this stage for the first time in their history.

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