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Gent hoping to stunt Sporting surge

Sporting Clube de Portugal will look to maintain their 100% record in Group C when they welcome KAA Gent, who face Portuguese opposition for the first time in UEFA club competition.

Sporting are the joint-top scorers in the competition
Sporting are the joint-top scorers in the competition ©Getty Images

Sporting Clube de Portugal have hit a rich vein of form in UEFA Europa League Group C, and will look to extend their winning streak at home against KAA Gent on Matchday 3.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition, and this is also Gent's first game against Portuguese opponents.

• Sporting's record in six games against Belgian sides reads W2 D2 L2 (W2 D0 L1 at home). They have not been defeated by Belgian opposition in more than 50 years since losing both legs of a 1958/59 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round tie against R. Standard de Liège.

Match background
• Sporting are on a three-game European winning streak since losing 2-0 at home against Brøndby IF in the UEFA Europa League play-off first leg.

• Gent have lost their last seven European away games since prevailing 4-0 at Cliftonville FC in the 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Their most recent UEFA Cup away win came over ten years ago; a 3-0 victory against ÍA Akranes in Iceland on 8 August 2000.

Team facts
•Sporting need two more goals to reach 200 in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

• Sporting and FC Zenit St. Petersburg are the highest scoring sides in the group stage at the moment, with seven goals each from their two games.

• Sporting's Alberto Zapater has committed nine fouls in the opening two group stage games; alongside FC Lausanne-Sport's Silvio, more than any other player in the competition.

• Former forward Paulo Sérgio never represented any of the top clubs in Portugal in his playing career, but slowly worked his way up as a coach, with spells at FC Paços de Ferreira and Vitória SC crucial to him replacing Carlos Carvalhal as the man in charge at Sporting.

• A midfielder with Hulse Sport, Gent coach Francky Dury combined a football career with a full-time job as a police officer until 2007, when his success with SV Zulte Waregem – whom he guided from third tier to top flight in barely four years – persuaded him to go professional. Having won the 2005/06 Belgian Cup, he left Zulte Waregem after nine years to become Gent coach this summer.

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