Genk record gives Sporting chance
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Sporting Clube de Portugal will be hoping KRC Genk's Portuguese hoodoo holds when the Lisbon outfit head to Belgium with a new coach at the helm in UEFA Europa League Group G.
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KRC Genk are unbeaten in eight European home games and Sporting Club de Portugal have not won in eight away from home as they visit Belgium in UEFA Europa League Group G.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Genk are yet to win in four games against Portuguese clubs with the record W0 D1 L3 (W0 D1 L1 at home – W0 D0 L2 in Portugal). They have yet to score a goal at home against Portuguese opponents.
• Sporting's eight games against Belgian opponents have ended W3 D2 L3 (W3 D0 L1 in Lisbon – W0 D2 L2 in Belgium). Most recently, they lost 3-1 at KAA Gent in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage, having previously won the home fixture 5-1.
• This will be Sporting's 150th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League game – their previous 149 ended W73 D34 L42.
• Genk are unbeaten in eight home games – five wins and three draws. They have also won all three of their home ties this season, though the last team to beat them at the KRC Genk Arena were another Portuguese club, FC Porto, who prevailed 3-0 in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• Sporting have gone over a calendar year since their last European away win, 2-0 against FC Zürich on matchday one of last season's UEFA Europa League group stage. That eight-game barren spell comprises three draws and five defeats.
• FK Partizan, CS Marítimo and Sporting are the only sides who have yet to score in the group stage going into matchday three.
• Genk's coach since August 2012 has been Dutchman Mario Been, most famous for his work as a midfielder – and then coach – with Feyenoord and their satellite club SBV Excelsior. He led NEC Nijmegen through the group stage of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup, but lost out to KAA Gent in the 2010/11 play-offs when he was coaching Feyenoord.
• A 3-0 loss at Videoton FC on matchday two prompted the dismissal of Sporting coach Ricardo Sá Pinto, who had been hired in February. Former Sporting and Portugal midfielder Oceano da Cruz stepped up from the club's reserve team to take temporary charge. Born in Cape Verde, the 50-year-old played abroad with Real Sociedad de Fútbol and Toulouse FC, and coached Portugal's Under-21 team.
• This is FARE Action Week, with UEFA giving its support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign. There are activities before each UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game which will be witnessed by thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions on television. A 30-second RESPECT TV spot and announcements over stadium loudspeakers will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to unite against racism in football. Every team will be accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts and captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband.