Sparta Praha vs Partizan: UEFA Europa Conference League background, form guide, previous meetings
Tuesday, 15 February 2022
European regulars Sparta Praha and Partizan meet for the first time in 56 years as the two clubs bid to reach the last 16 of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
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European regulars Sparta Praha and Partizan meet for the first time in 56 years as the two clubs bid to reach the last 16 of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.
• The Czech side were third in their UEFA Europa League section during the autumn, finishing behind Lyon and Rangers on seven points, while their Serbian opponents took the runners-up spot behind Gent in UEFA Europa Conference League Group B despite failing to win any of their last four fixtures.
• This is the only one of the eight UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-off ties in which the two teams have previously met, though their only past encounters were way back in March 1966, when Partizan overcame Sparta in the quarter-finals of the European Cup. The Serbian side recovered from a 4-1 loss in Prague to prevail 5-0 in Belgrade and go on to reach the final, which they lost 2-1 to Real Madrid in Brussels.
• Sparta's two other ties against Serbian opponents have also ended in defeat, in recent UEFA Europa League qualifiers against Crvena zvezda (0-2 a, 0-1 h in 2017/18) and Spartak Subotica (0-2 a, 2-1 h in 2018/19). Their home record against Serbian visitors is therefore W2 L1.
• Partizan have also played two other ties against Czech opponents – and likewise lost them both, against Slavia Praha in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup second round (3-1 h, 1-4 a) and Viktoria Plzeň in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (1-1 h, 0-2 a). They have therefore lost on all three of their visits to the Czech Republic.
• Sparta finished distant runners-up to city rivals Slavia in the 2020/21 Czech Liga, 12 points in arrears, but their European prize, on their 39th successive continental adventure, was the same – a place in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. Unlike Slavia, Pavel Vrba's team won that tie, beating Rapid Wien, before falling in the next round to Monaco and therefore qualifying for an eighth appearance – and second in succession – in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Third in their group last term, Sparta staged a 2021/22 encore, back-to-back defeats against section winners Lyon preceding a 2-0 loss at Rangers on Matchday 5 that ended their hopes of further progress before they clinched their berth in the UEFA Europa Conference League with a closing 2-0 home win against Brøndby.
• Sparta's home record in this season's European campaign is W3 L2. In six UEFA Europa League knockout phase ties it is W1 D3 L2, the only victory 1-0 against Krasnodar in the first leg of the 2015/16 round of 32, a tie they won 4-0 on aggregate.
• Runners-up to Crvena zvezda in both domestic competitions last season, finishing 13 points adrift in the Serbian SuperLiga and losing on penalties after a goalless draw in the cup final, Partizan nevertheless booked a qualifying spot in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.
• The club's 26th successive European campaign kicked off in the second qualifying round of the new competition, where they defeated Dunajská Streda before prevailing on penalties against Sochi and coming from behind to beat Santa Clara in the play-offs. Victorious in each of their opening two group games – against Anorthosis (2-0 a) and Flora Tallinn (2-0 h) – Aleksandar Stanojević's side chalked up just two more points but the second of them, in a 1-1 draw at home to Anorthosis on Matchday 6, was enough to clinch qualification, albeit with a five-point deficit on group winners Gent.
• Partizan's away record in Europe this season is W2 D2 L2, the most recent fixture a shock 1-0 defeat in Estonia on Matchday 5.
UEFA Europa Conference League squad changes
In: Tomáš Čvančara (Jablonec), Adam Goljan (Žilina), Milan Piško
Out: Václav Drchal (Dynamo Dresden, loan), David Moberg Karlsson (Urawa Red Diamonds), Andreas Vindheim (Schalke, loan)
In: Ljubomir Fejsa (Al-Ahli, Saudi Arabia), Marko Jevtović (Al Ahli, Qatar)
Out: Rajko Brežančić, Mateja Djordjević (Voždovac), Aleksandar Šćekić (Zagłębie Lubin), Seydouba Soumah (Kuwait SC), Nikola Štulić (Radnički Niš)
Links and trivia
• Sparta coach Vrba was in charge of Viktoria Plzeň when they eliminated Partizan from the UEFA Europa League round of 32 in 2017/18 – the Serbian club's last springtime European contest, and their only one in the past 16 seasons.
• Sparta's winter signing Tomáš Čvančara scored three goals in the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage for fellow Czech side Jablonec – all against Randers.