The Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon is the setting as Sporting CP and Rosenborg go head to head for the first time.
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The Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon is the setting as Sporting CP and Rosenborg go head to head for the first time in UEFA competition, the Portuguese side holding a three-point advantage in Group D over the Norwegian champions, who have lost their opening two fixtures.
• While Sporting recovered from a Matchday 1 defeat at PSV Eindhoven (2-3) to overcome LASK 2-1 in Lisbon, star midfielder Bruno Fernandes scoring for the second successive game, Rosenborg added a 1-4 home defeat by PSV to their opening 0-1 loss away to LASK.
• This is Sporting's first game against Norwegian opposition for 20 years, their previous two home games having both produced victories and clean sheets.
• Rosenborg's ten previous UEFA fixtures against Portuguese opponents have yielded four wins, one draw and five defeats. Just one of those victories has come on Portuguese soil – 3-0 against Boavista in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League first group stage. Their only previous visit to Lisbon – and also their most recent trip to Portugal – brought a 1-0 defeat by Benfica in the third round of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, a result from which they were unable to recover, going out on away goals after a 2-1 second-leg win in Trondheim.
• Sporting qualified automatically for the 2019/20 group stage by winning last season's Portuguese Cup, a penalty shoot-out victory in the final against Porto adding to a third-placed finish in the Liga. They also reached the UEFA Europa League round of 32, where they were knocked out by Villarreal.
• This is Sporting's ninth appearance in the UEFA Europa League proper – a competition record – and their seventh in the group stage, five of their previous six having brought further progress into the knockout phase. The Lisbon side's best performance came in 2011/12, when they reached the semi-finals.
• Sporting went a record 20 home games unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, in their first five seasons of participation (W13 D7) but have now lost four of the last 12, including a pair of 0-1 defeats last season to Arsenal and Villarreal. Their overall home record in the group stage is W13 D4 L2.
• Rosenborg won their tenth Norwegian domestic double last year, adding a 12th cup victory to a 26th league title – both national records. It was their fourth Eliteserien triumph in a row. They also played 14 European fixtures in 2018, ending their campaign in the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they lost their first five matches before a consolation 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig on matchday six.
• European participants in 30 of the last 31 seasons, this is the Trondheim club's sixth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage, and they have failed to reach the knockout phase in all five previous attempts. The last time they finished in the top two of a European group came in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League.
• Rosenborg kicked off this season in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, eliminating Linfield, BATE Borisov and Maribor before losing to Dinamo Zagreb in the play-offs. They have failed to win any of their last 12 matches in the UEFA Europa League (D3 L9) and are on an identical 12-game winless run in the competition proper away from home (also D3 L9) that stretches back to Matchday 1 of the 2012/13 campaign.
Links and trivia
• Rosenborg's Danish midfielder Mike Jensen has won before at the Estádio José Alvalade, his Brøndby team beating Sporting 2-0 in the first leg of the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-offs. However, the Lisbon side won the second leg 3-0 to reach the group stage.
• Rosenborg's on-loan Norwegian international striker Bjørn Johnsen spent 18 months in Portugal during the early part of his career, playing for third-tier Louletano in 2013/14 and until February of the following season for second-tier Atlético CP.
• Sporting need two more goals to reach 100 in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final – a tally so far attained by only five other clubs.
• Rosenborg's run of 12 matches in the UEFA Europa League proper without a victory is three shy of the competition record, set last season by Apollon Limassol.
• Silas was appointed as Sporting coach on 27 September, replacing interim boss Leonel Pontes. The Lisbon-born former midfielder was available after being dismissed earlier in the month by Belenenses, where he had taken on his first coaching post in January 2018. A graduate of Sporting's academy, his playing career took him on a long and winding journey that included stops at União Leiria (where he was coached by José Mourinho), Belenenses (where he worked under Jorge Jesus) and in Spain, England, Cyprus and India before he decided to hang up his boots in 2017 aged 40.
• After a playing career spent mostly in the Norwegian lower leagues with Vard Haugesund but latterly with local rivals FK Haugesund, Eirik Horneland became an assistant coach with the latter before taking charge of Norway's national Under-19 side in 2015. At the end of the following year he returned to Haugesund as head coach, where he spent two seasons, the second of which brought a fourth-placed finish in the Eliteserien and earned him, at 43, the plum job at reigning champions Rosenborg, where he replaced Dutch interim boss Rini Coolen.
The FootballPeople weeks take place from 10 to 24 October 2019 and are organised by UEFA's social responsibility partner Fare. The weeks are a global campaign aimed at tackling discrimination and celebrating diversity in football. The UEFA Europa League is offering its full support to the FootballPeople weeks; teams will line up for a mixed photo with the referees, while an #EqualGame hashtag will also be on display. Videos will be played on giant screens at stadiums across Europe, and child mascots will be wearing #FootballPeople t-shirts. UEFA's collaboration with the Fare network's FootballPeople weeks has been running since 2001. The aim of this initiative fits in perfectly with the goals of #EqualGame, which is looking to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility.