Turkish football club Demir Grup Sivasspor will face Spain’s Villarreal in a compelling UEFA Europa League match as the competition starts Thursday.
Sivasspor qualified for the 2020-21 Europa League’s group stage directly after finishing the Turkish Super Lig in the fourth place last season.
But the Turkish team are set to play their first European game after 11 years.
Sivasspor have been long craving for playing in the European cups as they last played in 2009, when they were eliminated by Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League playoffs.
The 2009 UEFA Cup champions, Shakhtar won 5-0 on aggregate.
It was the last UEFA Cup as the tournament was rebranded the UEFA Europa League in the 2009-10 season.
Thursday’s Group I game will kick off in Villarreal’s Estadio de la Ceramica at 1900GMT.
Ranked in 25th place in the UEFA’s latest club coefficients list, Villarreal is the favorite club for the Group I.
Azerbaijan’s Qarabag and Israeli club Maccabi Tel-Aviv are the other teams in the group.
Villarreal defender Chakla tests positive
Villarreal’s four players will miss the Sivasspor game.
Three players — Pervis Estupinan, Gerard Moreno, and Alberto Moreno — were troubled by injuries.
A former Liverpool left back, Alberto Moreno underwent a major knee surgery last month. Moreno had faced cruciate ligament rupture as he is expected to return to the game next year.
Villarreal’s Moroccan defender Soufiane Chakla will also miss Thursday’s game as he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Gabonese defender Aaron Appindangoye and Turkish-German winger Erdogan Yesilyurt are ineligible for the Villarreal match as the Sivasspor duo had injuries.
In the other game of the group, Maccabi Tel-Aviv will host Qarabag at the Bloomfield Stadium.
The match will begin at 1900GMT as well.
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