Torino FC are preparing to take on Athletic Club in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 with a superb run of home results behind them in European competition.
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Torino FC will hope to send Athletic Club home from Turin empty-handed as they come into their UEFA Europa League round of 32 encounter boasting an impressive home record against Spanish opponents.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in European competition.
• Torino have won all four previous home games against Spanish teams without conceding; they have lost all four previous matches in Spain. Most notably they beat Real Madrid CF 3-2 on aggregate in the semis to reach their only European final, the 1991/92 UEFA Cup decider, where they fell to AFC Ajax on away goals.
• Athletic have not won in three previous games in Turin (D1 L2), all against Torino's neighbours Juventus: a 1-0 reverse in the first leg of the 1976/77 UEFA Cup final, a 5-1 loss in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup, and a 1-1 draw in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Torino are unbeaten in nine European home fixtures (W7 D2), and have not conceded in their last eight UEFA matches in Turin – a run which began with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal FC in March 1994.
• Athletic finished third in their UEFA Champions League group in the autumn after winning their final two games. They last featured in the UEFA Europa League in 20102/13, when they failed to get through the group phase. They made it to the final the previous season, losing 3-0 to Club Atlético de Madrid in Bucharest.
Trivia and links
• Athletic midfielder Beñat turns 28 on the day of the Torino game.
• Torino are one of five sides to have progressed from the third qualifying round to the round of 32 along with BSC Young Boys, Club Brugge KV, FC Dinamo Moskva and PSV Eindhoven.
• Torino last featured in the spring phase of a UEFA competition in 1994, when they succumbed to Arsenal in the European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.
• Giampiero Ventura led Torino back to Serie A after taking charge in 2011, and is now enjoying – at the age of 67 – his first campaign in Europe. Previously a player at UC Sampdoria, he once guided US Lecce from Serie C to Serie A, and also oversaw promotion to the top tier with Cagliari Calcio as well as winning a club-record 50 Serie A points with AS Bari in 2009/10.
• Ernesto Valverde spent the best years of his playing career with Athletic, where the 1.72m-tall forward was known as 'Txinguirri' (the ant). A Cup Winners' Cup winner with FC Barcelona in 1988/89, he was a losing finalist in the UEFA Cup with RCD Espanyol as both player (1988) and coach (2007). In his second stint as Athletic boss, he also landed three Greek titles at the Olympiacos FC helm.