A last-gasp equaliser on Matchday 4 gave Vitória SC their first point in Group F, although Standard Liège are considerably better placed to progress.
Article top media content
A last-gasp equaliser at home to Arsenal on Matchday 4 gave Vitória SC their first point in Group F, and while the Portuguese side can still mathematically qualify for the round of 32 should they defeat Standard Liège, their chances of further progress are considerably less favourable than those of their visitors, who arrive in northern Portugal level on six points with Eintracht Frankfurt, four behind Arsenal.
• Bruno Duarte's 91st-minute overhead kick brought Vitória a 1-1 draw against the Gunners last time out, the Guimaraes club having lost to an even later winning goal in London two weeks previously (2-3) to add to earlier defeats at Standard (0-2) and at home to Frankfurt (0-1). Standard lost successive away fixtures at Arsenal (0-4) and Eintracht (1-2) before a 2-1 defeat of the German side in Liege thanks to Maxime Lestienne's 94th-minute winner.
• Standard kicked off their 2019/20 European campaign by beating Vitória 2-0 at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne on Matchday 1, a Florent Hanin own goal giving them a 66th-minute lead before Paul-José Mpoku's added-time clincher.
• That encounter came 24 years after the clubs' one previous European engagement, a UEFA Cup first-round tie that the Portuguese side won, a 3-1 home win in Guimaraes preceding a goalless draw in Liege.
• Vitória are unbeaten in three home games against Belgian opposition (W2 D1), whereas Standard have lost on their last two visits to Portugal and have not won there for 61 years – since overcoming Sporting CP 3-2 in Lisbon in the first round of the 1958/59 European Cup (6-2 on aggregate).
• Fifth in the Portuguese Liga last season, Vitória qualified for their fifth European campaign this decade and first since 2017/18, when they finished fourth in their UEFA Europa League group.
• Qualifying wins in the summer against Jeunesse Esch, Ventspils and FCSB enabled the Guimaraes club to make a third appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They have yet to make further progress in the competition, however, finishing third in their section on debut in 2013/14. Back in 2005/06 they also finished bottom of their UEFA Cup group.
• Vitória won all three of their home qualifying games this summer, scoring 11 goals and conceding none, the Matchday 2 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt being the only one in their last eight European games in Guimaraes (W4 D3).
• Standard's third place in the 2018/19 Belgian league earned them direct qualification for this season's group stage.
• The Liege club have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage in five previous campaigns, but have only once made further progress, at the first attempt in 2011/12, when they went through to the round of 16. They were also quarter-finalists in the inaugural 2009/10 season after switching over mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League. Last season they failed to get into the knockout phase despite picking up ten points in a group that contained Sevilla, Krasnodar and Akhisar.
• Standard have lost 12 of their 22 away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (W4 D6), a 3-0 success at Panathinaikos in the 2016/17 group stage providing the sole victory in their last 16 such outings.
Links and trivia
• Standard's Mehdi Carcela scored three goals in 29 matches for Benfica in 2015/16, appearing as a substitute in a 1-0 away win against Vitória SC in the league.
• Standard coach Michel Preud'homme spent the last five seasons of his playing career at Benfica, winning the Portuguese Cup in 1995/96.
• Vitória's coach Ivo Vieira was in charge of Nacional's Under-19s in 2008/09, when Standard's Croatian striker Duje Čop played for the Madeira club's first team.
• An unexpected sixth-placed finish with Moreirense in the 2018/19 Portuguese Liga – in his only season with the club – earned Ivo Vieira a summer move to a Vitória SC side that finished on the same number of points but one place higher. A native of Madeira, he spent the whole of his playing career on the island with Nacional, which is where he also started his coaching path. Indeed, he did not work in mainland Portugal until May 2016, when he was handed the coaching reins at second-tier Aves. He subsequently took charge of Académica Coimbra and Estoril.
• A former goalkeeper who played 58 times for the Belgian national team, Preud'homme started out with Standard, winning two league titles with the club, before making further waves with Mechelen, notably in their European Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1987/88. He has enjoyed similar success as a coach, winning trophies with every club he has managed, most recently the 2015/16 Belgian league with Club Brugge. This is his third spell in charge at Standard, his return in May 2018 coming after ten years away.