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Apollon seek Cypriot first against Lazio

Having avoided defeat in their only previous home game against Italian opponents, Apollon Limassol FC will look to go one better against SS Lazio in UEFA Europa League Group J.

Apollon goalkeeper Isli Hidi makes an important intervention in Warsaw
Apollon goalkeeper Isli Hidi makes an important intervention in Warsaw ©AFP/Getty Images

Buoyed by a win in Poland on matchday two, Apollon Limassol FC can become the first Cypriot side to beat Serie A opponents when SS Lazio visit in UEFA Europa League Group J.

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

• Apollon previously met FC Internazionale Milano in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup second round, earning a creditable 3-3 draw at home following a 1-0 defeat in Milan.

• Lazio's only experience of Cypriot opponents saw them beat AC Omonia 5-0 at home and 2-1 in Nicosia in the first round of the 1995/96 UEFA Cup.

• No Cypriot side has beaten an Italian opponent home or away in 20 UEFA club competition games – four draws and 16 defeats for the Cypriot clubs.

Match background
• Apollon became the first Cypriot side to win a game in Poland on matchday two, ending a seven-game losing streak away from home in Europe to beat Legia Warszawa 1-0.

• Apollon are making their debut in a major UEFA group stage after eliminating OGC Nice in the play-offs.

• Lazio came from 3-1 down to steal a 3-3 draw at Trabzonspor AŞ last time out. They are unbeaten in their last six group stage away games, though five of those fixtures ended in ties.

• This is Lazio's fifth group stage campaign; they missed the cut in their first two, in 2004/05 and 2009/10, but reached the 2011/12 round of 32 and last season's quarter-finals.

Team facts
• Apollon's local rivals AEL Limassol FC featured in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, finishing bottom of their section with four points.

• Lazio defender Ştefan Radu and Apollon midfielder Ştefan Grigorie were team-mates back in their native Romania at FC Dinamo Bucureşti from 2004-06.

• Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou took on Italian opponents in the 2012/13 UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 during his time as Apollon Ladies FC coach, with his side losing 3-2 at home and 3-1 away to Sardinian side ASD Torres Calcio.

Coach information
• Appointed in March 2013, Christakis Christoforou guided Apollon to Cypriot Cup glory in 2012/13 and is the first coach to lead the men's and women's branches of the same club in UEFA competition. A successful player with AEL and APOEL, he took charge of Apollon's women following a spell as Cyprus Under-17 coach, winning five successive doubles and reaching the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 three times.

• Hired in summer 2012, Vladimir Petković won the Coppa Italia and reached the last eight of the UEFA Europa League with the Biancocelesti in his first season in charge. Nicknamed Il Dottore (The Doctor), the Sarajevo-born coach reportedly speaks eight languages and has spent most of his career in Switzerland as a midfielder and then a coach. Prior to joining Lazio, he took BSC Young Boys to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

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