NYON (SWITZERLAND) – The draw has been made for the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League play-offs with 62 teams involved (31 seeds, 31 unseeded teams). The play-offs are the last round before the group stage and the start of the competition proper.
After getting through the third qualifying round with an aggregate victory over Hajduk Split (0-3 in Croatia, 2 August; 0-2 at the San Siro 9 August), Inter – one of the seeded teams – will take on Romanian side FC Vaslui. The first leg will be played at the Municipal Stadium on Thursday 23 August, before the return leg at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza a week later (Thursday 30 August).
Vaslui come into the play-offs following defeat in their Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce, drawing the first leg 1-1 in Turkey, before losing the return at home 1-4, the first home defeat in European competition in 12 games for the Romanians (6 wins and 5 draws). The team play their home matches in European competition in the town of Piatra Neamt due to stadium criteria.
Vaslui meet Italian opposition for the second time after they played Lazio twice in last year’s group stage, drawing 0-0 in Romania and 2-2 in Rome.
Marius Sumudica has been in charge of Vaslui since June 2012 and they currently sit mid-table in the league with 4 points after three games (1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat). Their next match is at home to Pandurii Targu Jiu on Sunday, before they travel to Bistrita to take on Gloria. They meet Steaua Bucharest on 27 August, in between their two clashes with the Nerazzurri.
Inter play Romanian opposition for the first time in 11 years. In the 2001/02 UEFA Cup the Nerazzurri beat Brasov, winning both legs 3-0, the first of which was played in Milan. From 14 matches against Romanian teams in European competition in the past, Inter have won 9, drawn 2 and lost 3. Inter have won their last 5.
(Statistics courtesy of Football Data).