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Standard daunted by Braga obstacle

László Bölöni's R. Standard de Liège have a mountain to climb if they are to reach the Round of 16 with SC Braga coming to Belgium to defend a 3-0 lead from the first leg of their UEFA Cup fixture.

Standard coach László Bölöni
Standard coach László Bölöni ©Getty Images

László Bölöni's R. Standard de Liège have a mountain to climb if they are to reach the Round of 16 with SC Braga coming to Belgium to defend a 3-0 lead from the first leg of their UEFA Cup fixture.

• Goals from Renteria, Andre Leone and Luis Aguiar earned the Portuguese side an emphatic win at the Estádio Municipal.

• Romanian coach Bölöni is certainly no stranger to the Portuguese game, having guided Sporting Clube de Portugal to domestic league and cup success in 2001/02 – his first season with the Lisbon outfit. However, he departed at the end of the following campaign after his side finished third in the table, a full 27 points adrift of champions FC Porto.

• Bölöni's Sporting were spearheaded by an excellent strike partnership of Mário Jardel and João Pinto. He also helped the likes of Ricardo Quaresma and Cristiano Ronaldo emerge from the youth ranks.

• The first leg was Braga and Standard's first meeting in European club competition.

• Bölöni faced Braga four times during his time at the Sporting helm, only picking up a win at the final attempt after two defeats and a draw in his first three meetings with the Arsenalistas.

• Bölöni's assistant, Rolão Preto, is a Portuguese coach who also worked alongside him at Sporting. Standard's vice-president Luciano D'Onofrio also has a Portuguese connection, having been Porto's general manager when they beat FC Bayern München 2-1 to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1986/87.

• This is Braga's first trip to Belgium for a competitive fixture.

• Standard have now played seven games against Portuguese sides and their overall record reads W3 D2 L2. They have failed to win in their last four matches against Liga opposition.

• Standard have never been beaten at home by Portuguese visitors. Their three home games against Liga opposition to date have ended in two wins and a draw.

• Prior to the first leg, Braga coach Jorge Jesus had never faced Belgian opposition as a player or a coach, while it was Bölöni's first European club competition game against a Portuguese side.

• Former Romanian international Bölöni played against Portugal twice during the course of his national-team career, losing 1-0 in Nantes at the 1984 UEFA European Championship and winning 3-2 in a friendly in Lisbon the following year. He never played against Portuguese opposition at club level.

• Braga's 2-1 victory at SC Heerenveen in their final Group E encounter came on the back of two consecutive European defeats. Prior to a 1-0 group-stage reverse at AC Milan, they had won seven games in succession without conceding a goal after starting their campaign in the third round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Of the eleven sides that progressed to the UEFA Cup from the UEFA Intertoto Cup this season, four are still in the competition: Braga, Aston Villa FC, RC Deportivo La Coruña and VfB Stuttgart. UEFA traditionally awards a plaque to the UEFA Intertoto Cup qualifiers that enjoy the longest UEFA Cup run.

• Braga have won on four of their last five European away days, with their only defeat the aforementioned 1-0 loss at AC Milan.

• Standard are unbeaten in six European home games since a 1-0 defeat by RC Celta de Vigo in the first round of the 2006/07 UEFA Cup.

• Neither side have been involved in a penalty shoot-out in UEFA club competition to date.

• A 3-0 reverse at Stuttgart in their final group-stage match ended a five-game unbeaten run for Standard in European competition. Their UEFA Cup bid began after defeat by Liverpool FC in the third qualifying round of this season's UEFA Champions League.

• Standard, the Belgian champions, finished top of Group C to reach the Round of 32. Braga finished third in Group E, having taken seventh place in the Liga in 2007/08.

• Standard are one of six sides in the UEFA Cup who qualified for Europe this season as domestic champions. The others are Galatasaray AŞ (Turkey), Olympiacos CFP (Greece), Aalborg BK (Denmark), FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) and FC Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia).

• Standard's Dieu Mbokani and Reginal Goreux are within a booking of a one-match suspension, as is Braga's Renteria.

• Standard's leading UEFA Cup scorers this season, Milan Jovanović, Dieudonné Mbokani and Igor De Carmargo, have hit two goals apiece. Braga's top marksmen, Luis Aguiar and Albert Meyong, have scored five each.

• The winners of this tie will meet Paris Saint-Germain FC or VfL Wolfsburg in the Round of 16 on 12 and 18/19 March, and will play the second leg at home.