With only one Romanian side having claimed victory in 24 visits to Italy in UEFA club competition, FC Vaslui will be hoping to spring a surprise when they travel to Rome to face S.S. Lazio.
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S.S. Lazio can take courage from statistics as they take on Romania's FC Vaslui in their opening UEFA Europa League Group D game, with the visitors eager to spring a surprise in Rome.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in Europe and this is also Vaslui's first meeting with Italian opponents.
• Lazio took on FC Dinamo Bucureşti in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, prevailing 3-1 in Bucharest after a 1-1 draw in Rome.
• Ominously for Vaslui, only one Romanian side has won in 24 visits to Italy in UEFA club competition (the home side boasting the record W17 D6 L1). CFR 1907 Cluj broke the mould, beating Lazio's local rivals AS Roma 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in the opening game of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Since a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid CF in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage, Lazio have been alternating home wins and home defeats for seven games; given that they won their last home fixture 6-0 against FK Rabotnicki, they would be due a defeat if that run was to continue.
• Vaslui have won only once in eight European away games since making their continental debut in the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup. That lone win was a 2-0 at SK Liepājas Metalurgs in the UEFA Cup on 14 August 2008. In their six subsequent away games they have scored just once. Their overall European away record reads W1 D2 L5.
• Vaslui centre-back Gladstone has played in Italy; he was loaned to Juventus at the start of the 2006 campaign by EC Cruzeiro, featuring in one Coppa Italia game before being moved on to Hellas-Verona FC.
• Vaslui striker Adaílton also played in Italy for Parma FC, Verona, Genoa CFC and Bologna FC.
• Lazio striker Tommaso Rocchi's two goals in the play-offs took his total to 99 in all competitions for the club.
• Lazio boast Romanian talent in the form of left-back Ştefan Radu, who joined the club in 2008 from FC Dinamo Bucureşti following a successful loan spell. He and Vaslui's Silviu Bălace were team-mates at Dinamo in 2007.
• Once a midfield colleague of Fabio Capello's at SPAL 1907, Lazio boss Edoardo Reja has been coaching since 1979, but did not make his Serie A debut until 1998, and had to wait another decade to make his European debut with SSC Napoli.
• To date, Reja's sides have won all four of their European home games by a 15-2 aggregate scoreline.
• Vaslui coach Viorel Hizo twice took both FC Rapid Bucureşti and FC Ceahlăul Piatra Neamţ into Europe. He came up against Italian opposition with the latter, taking on Juventus in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round. His side lost the tie on goal difference, following a 1-1 draw in Romania and a 0-0 tie in Cesena.