21 February 2020
CFR Cluj welcome Sevilla to the Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu for the first leg of their UEFA Europa League (EL) last-32 tie.
The hosts have reached the competition’s knockout stages for the second time in their history, having finished second in Group E with a record of four wins and two defeats. Notably, three of those group stage successes cam at home and witnessed Cluj beat their rivals after failing to win the first half. Indeed, Cluj’s home action usually sparks into life after the break, as the Romanian champions scored four of five home goals in the second 45 minutes, with three of them arriving no earlier than the 70th-minute mark. Also, five of their six EL results (win/loss) this season have seen the winner on the day keep a clean sheet. Curiously, the ‘Ceferiștii’ have yet to play out a draw in the EL proper, with their overall record in the competition, home and away, standing at W5 L9.
Meanwhile, the visitors have enjoyed a prosperous Group A campaign, finishing top of the section with five wins and a loss, which came on Matchday 6. Indeed, before succumbing 1-0 to APOEL, the Spanish giants had won five consecutive group stage fixtures, four of which had yielded a multiple-goal margin. Additionally, Julen Lopetegui’s men have netted 14 EL goals so far this season, which is the competition’s second joint-best attacking record. Also, Sevilla have failed to advance to the round of 16 only once in their past five last-32 ties but have successfully negotiated their way through four times in a row now. But, a potential worry for the traveling fans could be that the Andalusian outfit have lost half (four) of their last eight EL trips.
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