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Gent v Roma facts

Roma have a 1-0 first-leg lead to protect as they seek a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 at the expense of Belgian hosts Gent.

Roma have a 1-0 first-leg lead to protect as they seek a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 at the expense of Belgian hosts Gent.

• Gent topped Group I in the autumn with 12 points, finishing undefeated ahead of Wolfsburg, Saint-Étienne and debutants Olexandriya, while Roma qualified as Group J runners-up on nine points, one behind section winners İstanbul Başakşehirspor, against whom they managed their only wins, scoring seven goals and conceding none in the two matches against the Turkish side (4-0 h, 3-0 a).

Previous meetings
• Just a single goal separated the two clubs in the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico, Roma's new loan arrival from Barcelona, Carles Pérez, scoring it after 13 minutes.

• The clubs' only previous European engagement, in the third qualifying round of the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League, was a one-sided affair, with Roma beating Gent 3-1 at home and 7-1 away. That second-leg result remains Roma's biggest European away win and Gent's joint heaviest European home defeat. The Belgian club have no other previous experience of Italian opposition.

• Roma lost their first two UEFA competition matches to Belgian opposition, 0-1 away and at home against Club Brugge in the third round of the 1975/76 UEFA Cup, but are unbeaten in the 13 games since then (W9 D4), six of them on the road (W4 D2).

Form guide
• Fifth in the 2018/19 Belgian top flight, and also runners-up in the domestic cup, Gent qualified for Europe for the fifth successive season, extending the longest sequence in the club's history.

• Ousted in the qualifying phase of the UEFA Europa League in each of the past two seasons, they came through three ties to reach the group stage this term, defeating Viitorul, AEK Larnaca and Rijeka. A win and a draw against each of their Group I rivals saw them comfortably through to the knockout phase, the highlight a come-from-behind 3-1 victory at Wolfsburg on Matchday 4.

• Gent won their only previous UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie, in 2016/17, beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at home and drawing 2-2 at Wembley before going out in the next round to fellow Belgian side Genk.

• Gent are undefeated in their last 11 European home games against foreign opposition (W7 D4), winning five out of six this season. The last European fixture they lost on home soil was against Genk three years ago (2-5); the last team from abroad to defeat them in front of their own fans were Shakhtar Donetsk, who won 5-3 in the group stage of that 2016/17 UEFA Europa League campaign.

• Gent's qualifying record from UEFA ties in which they lost the first leg away is W4 L7. With a 0-1 first-leg scoreline it is W3 L2, the latest victory coming against Feyenoord in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-offs (2-0 h), the most recent defeat by Videoton in the third qualifying round of the same competition in 2012/13 (0-3 a).

• Roma finished sixth in last season's Serie A, missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in six years. They were defeated 4-3 on aggregate after extra time by Porto in the 2018/19 round of 16 having reached the previous season's semi-finals.

• The Giallorossi's third participation in the UEFA Europa League group stage, like the previous two, ended in qualification for the knockout phase, although unlike in 2009/10 and 2016/17 they did not top their group. Late goals were conceded in drawing at home and losing away to Borussia Mönchengladbach and they could only manage two draws against Wolfsberg, allowing the Austrian debutants to come from behind twice at the Stadio Olimpico on Matchday 6 when victory would have enabled them to finish ahead of İstanbul Başakşehir.

• The Rome club lost their first UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie, going out to Panathinaikos in 2009/10 (2-3 a, 2-3 h), but have won the other two, eliminating Feyenoord in 2014/15 (1-1 h, 2-1 a) and Villarreal in 2016/17 (4-0 a, 0-1 h).

• Roma have won their last two away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 but have only one victory from their last four matches on the road in the competition as a whole (D1 L2). Their overall UEFA Europa League away record, qualifying included, is W6 D6 L5.

• Roma have won 26 of the 31 UEFA competition ties in which they overcame visitors to the Italian capital in the first leg, the most recent of those successes being that qualifying phase tie against Gent ten seasons ago. The latest such loss came last season, when they won 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico against Porto in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 only to bow out after going down 3-1 after extra time in northern Portugal. They have been victorious in nine of the ten previous ties when they have won the first leg 1-0 at home, the exception against Borussia Dortmund in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup quarter-final (0-2 a).

UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Bruno Godeau, Sulayman Marreh (Eupen), Anderson Niangbo (Salzburg)
Out: Dylan Bronn, Timothy Derijck (Kortrijk), Jean-Luc Dompé, Yuya Kubo (Cincinnati), Louis Verstraete

In: Mert Çetin, Carles Pérez (Barcelona, loan), Gonzalo Villar (Elche)
Out: Alessandro Florenzi (Valencia, loan), Juan Jesus, Nicolò Zaniolo, Davide Zappacosta

Links and trivia 
• Gent midfielder Sven Kums played 29 Serie A games for Udinese in 2016/17. He faced Roma once, a 0-1 home defeat in which Edin Džeko scored the only goal.

• Gent were one of only two teams to come through this season's UEFA Europa League group stage unbeaten, together with Group K winners Braga.

• Both clubs scored four goals in winning home league games last weekend, Roma's 4-0 victory against Lecce ending a run of four Serie A matches without a win while Gent made it eight games unbeaten in the Belgian top flight, and thus consolidated second place, by beating Sint-Truiden 4-1.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Gent's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L1:
4-1 v Lausanne, 1991/92 UEFA Cup first round
3-4 v Vardar, 2004 Intertoto Cup second round

• Roma's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L3:
4-2 v Norrköping, 1982/83 UEFA Cup second round
3-4 v Liverpool, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
3-4 v Real Zaragoza, 1986/87 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round
6-7 v Arsenal, 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16

The coaches
• A tall striker who spent most of his playing career in his native Denmark with OB and Esbjerg but also had short spells in Germany, Austria and Norway, Jess Thorup has lately become one of his country's most upwardly mobile coaches. After a two-year stint in charge of the Danish Under-21 side he became Midtjylland's head coach in 2015 and steered the Jutland club to the Superliga title in 2017/18. That prompted interest from abroad and he was recruited in October 2018 by Gent, whom he guided to a runners-up spot in the Belgian Cup and a fifth-placed finish in the league in his first season.

• Paulo Fonseca was appointed as the Roma head coach on 11 June 2019. He arrived in the Eternal City having won the Ukrainian league and cup double in each of his three seasons with Shakhtar Donetsk, where he had replaced the long-serving Mircea Lucescu in 2016. A central defender of modest repute, he paid his dues as a coach in his native Portugal, first making his mark at Paços de Ferreira then joining Porto in 2013 before winning his first major trophy, the 2015/16 Portuguese Cup, with Braga.