28 February 2020
A narrow 1-0 defeat in Italy last weekend means Gent have everything to play for when Roma arrive at the Ghelamco Arena for the return leg of their UEFA Europa League (EL) last-32 tie this week.
The abovementioned defeat has brought Gent’s six-game unbeaten run in the EL proper (W3, D3) to a halt, and it was only the second time this season that they’ve failed to find the net in Europe. However, free-scoring hosts have bagged over 1.5 goals in all three of their group stage home fixtures, managing a total of seven. Far more aggressive in the first half, the Buffalos have scored 71.43% (five) of their total EL home goals before the break, finding the opening goal inside the first ten minutes of play twice along the way. Impressively, Jess Thorup’s men have yet to taste defeat at home this season (W13, D4), with ten of those successes producing a multiple-goal margin. A potential reason for concern among the home fans is that five of their eight EL goals conceded so far have come at this venue (62.5%).
Meanwhile, the visitors have overseen a slight upturn in results lately, going from five consecutive games without a win (D1, L4) to two straight triumphs, both of which have yielded a clean sheet. However, the Giallorossi have suffered defeats in each of their previous three road trips in all competitions, with all of those games seeing over 2.5 goals and both teams on the scoresheet. In turn, the Serie A giants have endured mixed fortunes in their three EL away matches so far this season (W1, D1, L1), which now means they’ve won only two of their last ten continental trips (D1, L7). Frustratingly for the traveling fans, all eight of Roma’s losses in that period saw them concede at least two goals.
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