Nice v Napoli: play-off facts and stats
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, OGC Nice will need to maintain their fine European home record if they are to stop SSC Napoli from reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Dries Mertens opened the scoring in Naples, with Jorginho adding a penalty 20 minutes from time.
• The clubs met in pre-season friendlies in 2015 and 2016, with Nice winning 3-2 at home and Napoli prevailing 3-0 at the Stadio San Paolo 12 months later.
• Prior to the first leg, Nice had never met Serie A opposition in UEFA competition.
• Napoli’s record in nine matches against French teams in UEFA competition is: W5 D2 L2.
• The Italian side’s knockout record in UEFA competition against Ligue 1 clubs is W1 L2, with all three previous ties coming in the UEFA Cup; they beat FC Girondins Bordeaux 1-0 on aggregate in the 1988/89 third round but lost on penalties to Toulouse FC in the first round in 1986/87 and were eliminated by Paris Saint-Germain FC 2-0 over two legs in the 1992/93 second round.
• Nice’s home record in UEFA club competition is W15 D4 L3.
• By contrast, the French club have won only one of their 21 away games in UEFA competition.
• Nice ousted AFC Ajax on away goals in the third qualifying round, going through after a 1-1 home draw and a 2-2 in Amsterdam.
• This is Nice’s first UEFA Champions League campaign, and just their third in the European Cup overall. Their last before this came in 1959/60, when they got to the quarter-finals, as they had on their debut in 1956/57 – both campaigns were ended by eventual winners Real Madrid CF.
• In 2016/17, Nice finished fourth in their UEFA Europa League group – the first time they had participated in that stage of the competition.
• Napoli are seeking to reach the group stage for the fourth time, after their campaigns in 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2016/17.
• The Serie A outfit have only lost twice in eight European away games since the start of 2015/16 (W5 D1 L2). Their home record in their last 22 European fixtures is even more impressive: W14 D6 L2.
• One of those defeats came in last season’s round of 16, when the Partenopei lost 3-1 in both legs to eventual champions Real Madrid.
• The Italian outfit lost their only previous play-off tie, against Athletic Club in 2014/15.
Team and coach links
• Mario Balotelli, injured for the first leg, has faced Napoli six times in his career (D1 L5). He scored against the Vesuviani for Manchester City FC during the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage and for AC Milan in a 2-1 home defeat in September 2013.
• Pepe Reina saved a Balotelli penalty in that 2013 fixture. The forward was then sent off after the final whistle.
• New Nice signing Wesley Sneijder – also absent in Naples – played in Italy for FC Internazionale Milano from August 2009 to January 2013, winning the UEFA Champions League, the Scudetto and the Coppa Italia in 2010.
• Napoli’s Adam Ounas (Bordeaux), Kalidou Koulibaly (FC Metz) and Faouzi Ghoulam (AS Saint-Étienne) have experience of French football.
• Lucien Favre took charge of Nice in summer 2016, steering them to a third-place finish in Ligue 1. Twice a title winner with FC Zürich in his native Switzerland, he made a positive impression in Germany with Hertha BSC Berlin and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. He was capped 24 times as a midfielder.
• Naples-born Maurizio Sarri replaced Rafael Benítez when the Spaniard left Napoli for Madrid at the end of the 2014/15 campaign. Having spent much of his career in the lower leagues, Sarri led Empoli FC into Serie A in 2013/14 and kept them up comfortably before quitting to join Napoli.
• Nice have never been involved in a penalty shoot-out in UEFA competition.
• Napoli’s record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
3-5 v FC Spartak Moskva, 1990/91 European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round
4-3 v Sporting Clube de Portugal, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
3-4 v Toulouse FC, 1986/87 UEFA Cup first round