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Sampdoria on guard for Metalist steel

UC Sampdoria will not be fooled by FC Metalist Kharkiv's lack of European experience when the two teams meet in Genoa in the Round of 32 with the Ukrainian visitors having already unseated several big names this season.

Sampdoria just made it through after their late win against Sevilla on Matchday 5
Sampdoria just made it through after their late win against Sevilla on Matchday 5 ©Getty Images

UC Sampdoria will not be fooled by FC Metalist Kharkiv's lack of European pedigree when the two teams meet in Genoa in the first leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie. Indeed, the Ukrainian visitors have already unseated several big names this season.

• This will be the two clubs' first meeting in European competition.

• Metalist won 1-0 at Galatasaray AŞ and SL Benfica in their last two European away games, this after failing to win on their first four away days at continental level.

• Metalist are on a five-match unbeaten run in this season's UEFA Cup, and have conceded only twice in six European matches in 2008/09.

• After three 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw in Group B, the Ukrainian outfit matched the achievements of Hertha BSC Berlin and Middlesbrough FC in 2005/06 to become only the third team not to concede throughout the UEFA Cup group stage.

• Sampdoria, meanwhile, have gone 12 European home games without defeat since a 2-1 UEFA Cup reverse against Athletic Club Bilbao on 16 September 1997. They have won seven and drawn five of those matches, scoring 18 goals to just four conceded and keeping nine clean sheets.

• Metalist, who took third place in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, qualified for the Round of 32 as Group B winners. Sampdoria, who were sixth in Serie A in 2007/08, finished third in Group C.

• Sampdoria have never previously faced a Ukrainian side, while Metalist have never met Italian opponents.

• The Genoa outfit's most tangible connection to Ukraine remains their former player Oleksiy Mykhailychenko, the current Ukrainian national team coach, who was part of the Blucerchiati's 1990/91 title-winning squad.

• Sampdoria coach Walter Mazzarri has yet to come up against Ukrainian opposition, while his Metalist counterpart Myron Markevich is equally inexperienced as regards Serie A teams.

• Both Sampdoria and Metalist were eliminated in the first round of last season's UEFA Cup, by Aalborg BK and Everton FC respectively.

• UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners in 1989/90, Sampdoria are taking part in their fourth UEFA Cup campaign. This is the first time they have reached this stage of the competition.

• This is Metalist's third season in continental competition and will be their first taste of playing European football after the winter break.

• Metalist's Brazilian striker Jajá was voted Ukrainian Player of the Year for 2008 in December after a poll of the nation's top-flight players and coaches conducted by national sports newspaper Komanda.

• Metalist is literally translated as 'metal worker'. The club was founded in 1925 and initially sponsored by a local train construction plant.

• Sampdoria came to life in 1946 after the merger of Genoese teams Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria. The blue in the club's home jersey is taken from Andrea Doria and the white, red and black stripe from Sampierdarenese.

• Sampdoria's Gennaro Delvecchio and Stefano Lucchini are both within a booking of a one-match suspension, as is Metalist's Seweryn Gancarczyk.

• January squad changes:-
Players added to squad list: Michele Ferri, Manuel da Costa, Andrea Raggi.
Players removed from squad list: Jonathan Bottinelli, Emiliano Bonazzoli, Nenad Krstičić.
Players added to squad list: Andriy Berezovchuk, Denys Oliynyk, Walter Acevedo.
Players removed from squad list:Abdoulaye Djiré, Aleksandar Trišović, Olexandr Babych.

• The victors of this tie will meet either FC Dynamo Kyiv or Valencia CF in the Round of 16 on 12 and 18/19 March, and will play the second leg at home.

• There is, therefore, the possibility of an all-Ukrainian Round of 16 clash between Dynamo and Metalist. This would be the first meeting between two Ukrainian sides in European club competition.