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Sporting go to Gent with high hopes

Sporting Clube de Portugal beat KAA Gent 5-1 in Matchday 3 to extend their lead in UEFA Europa League Group C and another victory in Belgium would wrap up a round of 32 place.

Diogo Salomão's early goal set Sporting on their way in the first game
Diogo Salomão's early goal set Sporting on their way in the first game ©Getty Images

Matchday 3's 5-1 loss at Sporting Clube de Portugal was KAA Gent's heaviest away defeat in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League, and they will look to avenge it as the sides meet again.

• Three points in Belgium would leave Sporting certain of a place in the round of 32, most likely as Group C winners.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time in UEFA club competition in what was Gent's first taste of Portuguese opposition.

• Sporting's record in seven games against Belgian sides reads W3 D2 L2 (W0 D2 L1 in Belgium). 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.

• Sporting have played at the Jules Ottenstadion before, drawing 1-1 with K. Lierse SK in a 1997/98 UEFA Champions League group stage game.

Match background
• Gent are unbeaten in their last two European home games – a draw and a win. However, their previous two fixtures at the Jules Ottenstadion ended badly with a 3-1 loss to FC Dynamo Kyiv in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, and a 7-1 loss to AS Roma at the same stage of last season's UEFA Europa League.

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

• Their last four European away games have produced three wins and a draw. During that run of games, they conceded only once.

Team facts
• Gent are a goal shy of conceding their 100th in UEFA club competition. This will be their 66th European game.

• Gent have conceded nine goals in the first three matchdays, more than any other side in the competition.

• Sporting, by contrast, are the group stage's top scorers with 12 goals from three games. They have scored five in each of their last two games, both at home. Eight of their goals came in the first half with four in the second.

• 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.

• 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.