Akhisar v Sevilla facts
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Akhisar are still looking for their first Group J point, which could prove a tall order against Sevilla, who beat them 6-0 in Spain.
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European debutants Akhisar Belediyespor are still seeking their first point in UEFA Europa League Group J and may feel that it will be hard to come by at home to a Sevilla side who hammered them 6-0 in Andalusia, recording their biggest European win in the process. Another defeat for the Turkish club would eliminate them.
• The Spanish club also overpowered Standard Liège 5-1 at home on matchday one to prolong their 100% record of success from the qualifying phase, but then surrendered a lead to lose 2-1 away to Krasnodar on matchday two. Akhisar, meanwhile, followed up a 0-1 home defeat to the Russian club on their European bow by losing 2-1 in Belgium and then getting hit for six in Seville, the goals coming from six different players.
• The 25 October match in Seville was Akhisar's first game against Spanish opponents.
• Sevilla have faced three other Turkish clubs, getting the better of Beşiktaş in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage – en route to winning the trophy – and also İstanbul Başakşehir in last season's UEFA Champions League play-offs, but losing on penalties to Fenerbahçe in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16. They have won one and lost one in Turkey, scoring twice in each game.
• Akhisar qualified for their first European campaign – and an automatic place in the UEFA Europa League group stage – with a shock 3-2 win over Fenerbahçe in the 2018 Turkish Cup final. They finished 11th in the league – nine places and 30 points behind their illustrious Istanbul opponents.
• Defeated in their first three European games, Akhisar are one of five clubs yet to record a point in this season's UEFA Europa League; the others are Rosenborg (Group B), Bordeaux (C), Qarabağ (E) and fellow group stage debutants Dudelange (F).
• Although they were UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists last term, seventh place in Spain's Liga meant that Sevilla's first match back in the UEFA Europa League since their 2016 final success against Liverpool was in the second qualifying round. They came through their opening tie, against Hungary's Újpest, with ease, winning both legs, and it was the same story in subsequent rounds against Žalgiris Vilnius and Sigma Olomouc.
• This is Sevilla's fourth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They have always progressed through to the knockout phase, winning the competition in both 2013/14 and 2014/15. The hat-trick triumph of 2015/16 came after they had crossed over from the UEFA Champions League during the winter.
• Sevilla have won eight of their nine European games this season, racking up 29 goals and conceding just four. The matchday two loss at Krasnodar is one of only two defeats they have suffered in their last ten European away games (W5 D3). Their away record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W4 D3 L3 and in the tournament proper as a whole W10 D7 L6.
Links and trivia
• As a Dnipro player Akhisar's Ukrainian forward Yevhen Seleznyov came on as a substitute in the 2015 UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla in Warsaw.
• Akhisar's Miguel Lopes spent 2010/11 at Sevilla's city rivals Real Betis, making 21 league appearances. He also played for Granada – as, briefly, did Dany Nounkeu – while Hélder Barbosa (Almería) and Abdoul Sissoko (Hércules, Granada, Mallorca) have also played club football in Spain.
• Sevilla's Danish international defender Simon Kjær played for Turkish club Fenerbahçe in 2015/16 and 2016/17, making 55 Süper Lig appearances and scoring three goals.
• Sevilla are the highest-scoring team in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage with 12 goals; the only other club in double figures are fellow Spaniards Villarreal with ten. The all-time record for the most goals scored in the group stage of the competition is Napoli's 22 in 2015/16.
• Cihat Arslan was appointed as Akhisar's new head coach on 25 September, succeeding Safet Sušić. It is his second spell at the club, the first lasting for the duration of the 2015/16 season when he led Akhisar to an eighth-placed finish in the Turkish Süper Lig. A former defender who was a national champion early in his playing career with Galatasaray, he has coached a host of Turkish clubs, most recently Karşiyaka and Adanaspor.
• Pablo Machín was appointed by Sevilla as their new head coach on a two-year contract in May 2018 – a reward for four progressive campaigns at the helm of Catalan outfit Girona, whom he guided into the Spanish top flight before exceeding expectations by leading them to a tenth-placed Liga finish in 2017/18. Forced to retire from playing at 23, he had a lengthy association with home-town club Numancia before joining Girona in 2014. This is his first season on the European stage.