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Inter continue record quest against CFR

FC Internazionale Milano are chasing a record haul in this competition, but they have a good few hurdles to clear first, the opening one coming in the shape of CFR 1907 Cluj.

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni
Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni ©Getty Images

FC Internazionale Milano will look to edge closer to a fourth success in this competition as they take on CFR 1907 Cluj in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• Inter's 16 previous contests with Romanian sides have ended W10 D3 L3 (W6 D2 L0 at home – W4 D1 L3 in Romania). They are unbeaten in their last seven games against Romanian sides (W6 D1) since a 1-0 loss at FC Sportul Studentesc Bucureşti in September 1984.

• CFR's prior experience of Italian opposition amounts to four games against AS Roma in the course of two UEFA Champions League group stage campaigns, which ended W1 D1 L2 (W0 D1 L1 at home – W1 D0 L1 in Rome).

Match background
• Runners-up in Group H, Inter have won only once in five European home games this season, with three of their last four UEFA Europa League fixtures at San Siro ending in 2-2 draws.

• CFR bowed out of this season's UEFA Champions League group stage with back-to-back wins and are unbeaten in five away matches this season (W4 D1) – culminating in a 1-0 win against Manchester United FC at Old Trafford. They have, though, never won an away game in this competition – at stretch of five matches.

• Prior to this season, Inter had not played in this competition since 2003/04, when they reached the quarter-finals, losing out to Olympique de Marseille. Inter are one of three sides – along with Juventus and Liverpool FC – who have won the UEFA Cup a record three times.

• CFR are appearing in the spring leg of a major UEFA competition for the first time, having finished third in their UEFA Champions League group with an impressive ten points.

Team facts
• Inter defender Cristian Chivu could line up against Romanian opponents for the first time since he left FC Universitatea Craiova for AFC Ajax in 1999. The 32-year-old, capped 75 times by Romania, missed both of his side's games against SC Vaslui in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• Inter's Uruguayan left-back Álvaro Pereira spent the 2008/09 season with CFR – his first club in Europe – prior to joining FC Porto. He won the Romanian Cup and featured in CFR's maiden UEFA Champions League group stage campaign.

• Pereira (2009–12) and Fredy Guarín (2008–12) were playing for Porto at the same time as CFR's Ivo Pinto (2008–12) and Diogo Valente (2006–09), though the latter pair made just one first-team appearance between them and spent most of their time out on loan.

• Inter's coach is Andrea Stramaccioni, who stepped in on a caretaker basis to replace Claudio Ranieri last March and was then handed a contract for the 2012/13 campaign. A defender whose career was cut short by a serious injury at Bologna FC, he specialised in coaching youth teams, taking charge of the Roma and then Inter junior selections before getting the senior job.

• CFR coach Paulo Sérgio played for a number of smaller clubs as a forward, then worked his way up the Portuguese leagues as a coach. He briefly coached Sporting Clube de Portugal, then won the 2011/12 Scottish Cup at Heart Of Midlothian FC, replacing Ioan Andone as CFR boss in October.

• Paulo Sérgio's Sporting lost out to Rangers FC on away goals in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 32, 1-1 and 2-2 draws contributing to his departure from his old club.

Round of 16: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Olympique Lyonnais v Inter/CFR Cluj
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.

• Inter have played both their potential round of 16 opponents.

• Inter and Lyon first met in the 1958/59 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the non-UEFA affiliated precursor to the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – with Inter winning 7-0 in Milan then drawing 1-1 in France. Four more recent meetings in UEFA competition have been a little closer. Inter eliminated Lyon from the second round of the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, 4-3 on aggregate, but Lyon had the better of their 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage contests, drawing 3-3 at home 18 days after a 2-1 win in Milan.

• Inter and Tottenham met in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage: Inter won 4-3 at San Siro but lost 3-1 at White Hart Lane.