20 September 2019
Sevilla head to Tofiq Bahramov Stadium to take on Qarabag in the opening match of Group A, which will be their first-ever UEFA Europa League (EL) encounter with a club from Azerbaijan.
Qarabag’s road to the EL group stage has, curiously, started in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round where they eliminated the Albanian side Partizani 2-0 on aggregate (0-0 A, 2-0 H) before kicking out Dundalk 5-1 on aggregate (3-0 H, 2-1 A). However, a 3-2 aggregate defeat to APOEL in the third qualifying round (2-1 A, 0-2 H) moved them to the EL play-offs where they came out on top of their two-legged tie with Linfield on the away-goal rule (2-3 A, 2-1 H). Notably, the Horsemen have struggled to secure a single win in their last seven home games in the European group stage (D1, L6), also losing five of their six EL group-stage fixtures last season (W1, L5).
Meanwhile, the visitors will appear in the EL group stage for the second year in a row following the round-of-16 elimination to Slavia Praha last term. Although they’ve been regular in the competition’s knockout phase, the Andalusians have finished top of the group only twice, mainly thanks to their indifferent away form (W5, D4, L3). Only last season, Los Rojiblancos have lost two of three trips in the EL group stage, both times by a narrow one-goal margin. Interestingly, seven of Sevilla’s ten EL games last term have featured over 2.5 goals, with five of them producing four or more goals.
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