Slavia seek to spoil Genoa's return
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Back in Europe 18 years after reaching the 1991/92 UEFA Cup semi-finals on their continental debut, Genoa CFC will aim to prolong SK Slavia Praha's grim run on Italian soil in their UEFA Europa League Group B opener.
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Back in Europe 18 years after reaching the 1991/92 UEFA Cup semi-finals on their continental debut, Genoa CFC will look to prolong SK Slavia Praha's grim run on Italian soil in their opening game in UEFA Europa League Group B.
• This is the first meeting between the two sides and Genoa have never faced a Czech club before. Slavia are playing in Italy for a sixth time, having lost in all five of their previous visits to Serie A opposition.
• Genoa have lost just twice in their 12 European games to date and only once at home, 3-2 against AFC Ajax in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup semi-finals – the end of a campaign which brought notable wins over former European champions FC Steaua Bucureşti and Liverpool FC.
• Slavia played in two UEFA Cup group stage campaigns, successfully reaching the round of 32 in 2005/06 but failing to progress from their section last season.
• The Czech champions have found away victories hard to come by in Europe in recent seasons. They have not won in their last ten games on the road since a 1-0 success at Ajax in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
• Czech striker Tomáš Skuhravý is remembered with fondness in Genoa as one of the stars of their remarkable 1991/92 UEFA Cup campaign. The former AC Sparta Praha player's haul of 58 Serie A goals remains a post-war record for the club.
• Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini is in his first season in European competition. The former Juventus trainee and youth-team coach joined the club in 2006 after earning his managerial spurs at FC Crotone, leading the Rossoblù to Serie A in his first campaign.
• Genoa striker Hernán Crespo has played in four UEFA Champions League games against Slavia's arch-rivals Sparta – two each with Parma FC and Chelsea FC. He did not score in any of them but nor did he finish on the losing side, recording a win and three draws.
• Slavia coach Karel Jarolím made his competitive debut for Czechoslovakia with a brief cameo in a 2-2 UEFA European Championship draw against Italy at San Siro in November 1982.
• Slavia defender Matej Krajčík played in Italy for Reggina Calcio in spring 2009, while Tunisian midfielder Tijani Belaid started his career as a trainee at FC Internazionale Milano.
• Slavia will welcome LOSC Lille Métropole to Prague on Matchday 2, while Genoa visit Valencia CF on the same night, 1 October.