A 1-1 first-leg draw in Romania gives three-time UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla the edge as they play host to CFR Cluj.
A 1-1 first-leg draw in Romania gives three-time UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla the edge as they play host to CFR Cluj at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
• Sevilla coasted through Group A in the autumn, winning their first five matches before signing off with a defeat at fellow qualifiers APOEL. CFR, who played four UEFA Champions League qualifying ties last summer, are participating in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the second time, having finished runners-up in Group E behind a Celtic side they defeated 2-0 at home on Matchday 6 to seal qualification.
• CFR took the lead in the first leg, through a Ciprian Deac penalty, but had to settle for a draw when Sevilla's new signing Youssef En-Nesyri came off the bench to make his European debut and convert from close range in the 82nd minute.
• Sevilla have won five of their seven previous UEFA competition matches against Romanian clubs, the first four all against Steaua Bucureşti in 2007, and have a perfect home record against Romanian opposition, winning three matches out of three.
• CFR's experience of Spanish opposition prior to this tie was limited to a 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup second-round tie against Athletic Club that they won on penalties after two 1-0 home wins.
• Sevilla played 16 UEFA Europa League matches last season, progressing from the second qualifying round to the round of 16, where they were dramatically eliminated by Slavia Praha after a 4-3 extra-time defeat in the Czech capital. The Andalusian club re-qualified for this competition by finishing sixth in the 2018/19 Liga, which secured an automatic group stage berth.
• The three-time UEFA Europa League winners have never failed to progress from their group, making it five qualifications out of five this term and doing so as group winners for the third time. They defeated both Qarabağ and Dudelange home and away and also won 1-0 at home to APOEL before ending the section with a defeat by the same scoreline in Cyprus. Nevertheless, their final tally of 15 points was the most achieved by any team in this season's group stage.
• Sevilla have won four of their five previous UEFA Europa League round of 32 ties, their only defeat having come in the first of them, back in 2010/11, when they were eliminated on away goals by Porto (1-2 h, 1-0 a). They knocked out Maribor in 2013/14 (2-2 a, 2-1 h), Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2014/15 (1-0 h, 3-2 a) and Molde in 2015/16 (3-0 h, 0-1 a) – all en route to lifting the trophy – and were victorious again at this stage last term, getting the better of Lazio (1-0 a, 2-0 h). Their home record in the round of 32 is therefore W4 L1.
• Sevilla had won 18 successive UEFA Europa League matches at home to non-Spanish opposition, qualifying included, before drawing 2-2 against Slavia last season. They have returned to winning ways at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán this season, winning all three Group A games without conceding. Indeed, they have kept clean sheets in nine of their last 11 home games in this competition.
• The Andalusian club have drawn the first leg away in five UEFA competition knockout fixtures, going on to win four of those ties, most recently against Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League semi-final (2-2 a, 3-1 h). However, the one such tie they lost came after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, at CSKA Moskva in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League round of 16, with Sevilla subsequently losing to the Russian side 1-2 at home.
• CFR claimed their fifth Romanian league title – and second in succession – in 2018/19, all of those triumphs having come since 2008. In Europe, they lost to Malmö in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League and to Dudelange in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• A 1-0 loss at Astana kicked off this season's UEFA Champions League campaign in early July, but CFR turned that tie around and also went on to eliminate both Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Celtic before Slavia Praha overcame them in the play-offs to send them into the UEFA Europa League group stage. They opened with a 2-1 home win against Lazio before Celtic avenged the Romanian side's earlier win in Glasgow, but two 1-0 victories against Rennes ultimately proved crucial in taking them through ahead of both the French club and Lazio.
• CFR's only previous group stage appearance in the UEFA Europa League, in 2009/10, ended with just one win and five defeats, but they crossed over to the round of 32 from the UEFA Champions League in 2012/13, losing both legs to Internazionale (0-2 a, 0-3 h).
• CFR have lost six of their seven away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League proper, failing to score in every defeat. The exception was that 1-0 win at Rennes on Matchday 3.
• CFR have drawn the home first leg of four European ties, winning three of them, two after 1-1 draws, most recently against Celtic in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (4-3 a). Their only aggregate defeat in such an instance was in the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup final, also after a 1-1 home draw, when they were defeated 3-1 by Lens in the second leg.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Youssef En-Nesyri (Leganés), Suso (Milan, loan)
Out: Munas Dabbur (Hoffenheim), Bryan Gil (Leganés, loan), Javier Hernández (LA Galaxy), Alejandro Pozo (Mallorca, loan)
In: Paulo Vinícius, Cristian Manea (Apollon Limassol, loan), Grzegorz Sandomierski (Jagiellonia)
Out: Mihai Butean, Juan Culio (Quilmes Atlético), Jesús Fernández (Panetolikos, loan), Răzvan Horj (Academica Clinceni), Rareş Ispas, Alexandru Paşcanu (Voluntari, loan), Ionuţ Peteleu
Links and trivia
• CFR's Lithuanian goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis was in his current coach Dan Petrescu's Unirea Urziceni side that defeated Sevilla 1-0 at home in the UEFA Champions League ten seasons ago; Jesús Navas played for the Spanish club.
• Three CFR squad members have played for Spanish clubs – Arlauskis (Espanyol 2015–16), Michael Pereira (Mallorca 2010–16, Granada 2014) and Lacina Traoré (Sporting Gijón 2017).
• Arlauskis was an Espanyol player at the same time as Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordán.
• Sevilla were the only team to win their first five group fixtures in this season's UEFA Europa League.
• Sevilla have scored 121 goals in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, and need three more to equal Villarreal's competition record. They have also registered 38 wins, the same number as Villarreal but one fewer than top-ranked Salzburg.
• While Sevilla moved into the Spanish Liga's top four with a 3-0 win at rivals Getafe on Sunday, CFR increased their lead at the top of Romania's Liga I to six points with a 2-0 win at closest challengers Universitatea Craiova.
• Sevilla's record in six UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W5 L1:
4-3 v PAOK, 1990/91 UEFA Cup first round
3-1 v Espanyol, 2006/07 UEFA Cup final
2-3 v Fenerbahçe, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16
4-3 v Real Betis, 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 16
4-2 v Benfica, 2013/14 UEFA Europa League final
5-4 v Athletic Club, 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-final
• CFR have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
• Sevilla appointed Julen Lopetegui as their head coach on a three-year contract in June 2019, the former goalkeeper returning to duty in the Spanish Liga after a brief spell in charge of Real Madrid had swiftly ended in October 2018. A highly successful stint with Spain's youth selections brought European titles with the Under-19s in 2012 and U21s the following year. He had 18 months at Porto before taking charge of the senior Spain side and qualifying them for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, only to be dismissed on the eve of the tournament.
• The sixth most-capped Romanian international of all time, with 95 appearances, Petrescu played in four successive major tournaments from 1994 to 2000. The attacking right-back also carved out a successful career at club level, notably with Steaua and in England at Chelsea, with whom he spent five years and won three major trophies. He has had a diverse coaching career, the highlight a surprise Romanian title triumph with Unirea Urziceni in 2008/09 – a feat he repeated with CFR Cluj in 2017/18 and again the following season after returning from China in March 2019.