Eliminated Apollon Limassol make another attempt to end their record winless run as Lazio come to Cyprus.
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Eliminated from UEFA Europa League Group H on matchday four, Apollon Limassol will hope to crown their final European home game of the season by ending their record-breaking winless run in the competition. Their opponents, Lazio, are already through to the knockout phase for the sixth time.
• Back-to-back defeats by Eintracht Frankfurt in their last two matches (0-2 away, 2-3 home) sealed Apollon’s fate after they had taken just one point from their first two games, in a 2-2 home draw with Marseille.
• Lazio bounced back from a 4-1 defeat in Frankfurt, in which they had two players sent off, by doing the double over 2017/18 runners-up Marseille (3-1 away, 2-1 home) to secure their round of 32 berth with two games to spare, albeit with a three-point deficit on the German club.
• Lazio defeated Apollon 2-1 in Rome on matchday one. The clubs' only previous encounters had come when they were paired together in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage, a 0-0 draw in Cyprus preceding another 2-1 home win for Lazio two weeks later. Fotis Papoulis, Bruno Vale, Georgios Vasiliou and Marios Stylianou played in both games for Apollon, whereas Ştefan Radu is the sole Lazio survivor.
• Lazio won both of their other two games against Cypriot opposition, defeating Omonia home and away in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round, whereas Apollon are still seeking their first win against an Italian club having lost all four away games and drawn all three at home. Indeed, no Cypriot side has ever beaten an Italian opponent in 25 UEFA club competition matches.
• Domestic runners-up in league and cup last term, Apollon's sixth successive season in the UEFA Europa League kicked off in the first qualifying round, where they got the better of Lithuania's Stumbras before ousting Željezničar of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dinamo Brest of Belarus and, on away goals in the play-offs, Basel.
• Apollon have been in three previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns – a fourth is a record for a Cypriot club – but have never progressed beyond this stage, finishing third in their section in 2013/14 and fourth in both 2014/15 and 2017/18. Their record in the group stage is W2 D5 L15 with no wins in the last 15 matches – a record sequence in the competition proper.
• The Limassol club had won all four home games in this European campaign, scoring ten goals and conceding just one, prior to the matchday two draw against Marseille. Indeed, the defeat against Eintracht was only the second in their last 16 UEFA encounters on the island (W9 D5).
• Edged out of fourth place and into fifth in last season's Serie A by Internazionale on the final day, Lazio are participating in the UEFA Europa League for the seventh time, their best performances having been in 2012/13 and 2017/18, when they reached the quarter-finals.
• The Rome side have played more games in the competition than any other Italian club, this being their 61st – and 41st in the group stage. Including this season, their last six UEFA Europa League group stage participations have all been successful – after failure in the first – and they have topped their section on three of those occasions.
• Runners-up to Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, Lazio had three wins and three losses on the road in last season's UEFA Europa League, the matchday six defeat at Zulte Waregem ending the club's competition record-equalling run of 11 away games unbeaten (W4 D7) that had lasted since October 2013.
Links and trivia
• Apollon are one of four clubs who have reached this season's group stage after starting their campaign in the first qualifying round; the others are FC København, Rangers and Sarpsborg.
• Lazio are one of ten clubs in the 2018/19 group stage who have lost UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League finals, the others being Anderlecht, Vidi, Salzburg, Bordeaux, Arsenal, Celtic, Sporting CP, Rangers and, on three occasions, Marseille. Of that group only Anderlecht have lifted the trophy.
• The Serie A side became only the fourth club to reach 100 goals in the UEFA Europa League proper when they defeated Marseille on matchday four, Argentinian midfielder Joaquín Correa with the landmark strike.
• Sofronis Avgousti has coached home-town team Apollon since December 2016, when, as caretaker, he led the club to victory in each of his first eight league matches and to a successful defence of the Cypriot Cup. He has since steered them into back-to-back UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. Capped 11 times by Cyprus, he previously served the Limassol club in three separate spells as a goalkeeper and was also on the books of AEK Larnaca, Aris Limassol and APOEL.
• Lazio boss since April 2016, when he replaced Stefano Pioli, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward between 1999 and 2010, winning the Italian double in his debut season and the Coppa Italia twice more in later years. The younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, with whom he played at home-town outfit Piacenza, he began coaching Lazio's youth teams immediately after hanging up his boots. His first trophy as coach was the 2017 Italian Super Cup.