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Belenenses v Fiorentina background

Belenenses will hope their excellent defensive record in European games this season holds up when they welcome Fiorentina, semi-finalists last term, in Group I.

Paulo Sousa returns to his homeland as coach of Fiorentina
Paulo Sousa returns to his homeland as coach of Fiorentina ©Getty Images

Os Belenenses have conceded only one European goal all season – a good omen as they take on 2014/15 semi-finalists ACF Fiorentina in UEFA Europa League Group I.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition. It is Belenenses' first encounter with Italian opponents.

• Fiorentina's ten previous games against Portuguese teams have ended W2 D2 L1 at home (W1 D2 L2 in Portugal). They are unbeaten in their last three matches in Portugal (W1 D2) and their last four fixtures against Liga clubs (W1 D3).

Form guide
• Belenenses are undefeated in their five European contests this season (W2 D3). They have conceded just once in that run, at home to IFK Göteborg in the third qualifying round, but have scored only three times. Three of their last four continental assignments have ended 0-0.

• Fiorentina's 2-1 home loss to FC Basel 1893 was their third successive European defeat. The Viola reached last season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals, succumbing home and away to eventual winners Sevilla FC.

• Belenenses are making their UEFA group stage debut. This is set to be the longest campaign in their European history – at least ten games.

• Fiorentina have made it through to the round of 32 in all three of their UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Florence to Lisbon is around 1,800km.

• Fiorentina midfielder Matías Fernández played for Sporting Clube de Portugal from 2009 to 2012 – his coach there for a time was Belenenses boss Ricardo Sá Pinto. He also played alongside Belenenses's Tonel and Betinho in Lisbon.

• Belenenses's Gonçalo Brandão played in Italy for AC Siena, Parma FC and AC Cesena from 2008 to 2013.

• Fiorentina striker Nikola Kalinić was a losing UEFA Europa League finalist with FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk last season.

The coaches
• Ricardo Sá Pinto returned to Portugal to take charge of Belenenses in the summer, following two years abroad with FK Crvena zvezda, OFI Crete and Atromitos FC. He had earlier coached Sporting, the side where he made his name. He was a losing UEFA Cup finalist with Sporting in 2005.

• A European champion as a player with Juventus (1996) and Borussia Dortmund (1997), former Portugal midfielder Paulo Sousa joined Fiorentina in June and is on the hunt for a third title in as many seasons, having won the 2013/14 Israeli crown with Maccabi Tel Aviv FC and the Swiss top flight last term with Basel.

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