Tough for Eng­land teams in Cham­pi­ons, Europa

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

ENG­LAND’S two sur­viv­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Cham­pi­ons League, Chelsea and Arse­nal, were handed tough ties against Ital­ian op­po­si­tion in yes­ter­day’s draw, while hold­ers Barcelona will come up against Ger­many’s Bayer Lev­erkusen.

Chelsea will take on Napoli, with the first-leg at Stam­ford Bridge, while Arse­nal will meet reign­ing Serie A cham­pi­ons AC Mi­lan, trav­el­ling to Italy first.

Chelsea will know not to take Wal­ter Maz­zarri’s side lightly af­ter they qual­i­fied for the last 16 at the ex­pense of Manch­ester City.

For Arse­nal, mean­while, the clash with Mi­lan is a re­peat of their meet­ing at the same stage in 2007-08.

On that oc­ca­sion the Gun­ners won 2-0 on ag­gre­gate, with Cesc Fabre­gas and Em­manuel Ade­bayor scor­ing late goals in the sec­ond-leg at the San Siro af­ter a goal­less first-leg. Barcelona will go to Ger­many first to face the 2002 run­ners-up Lev­erkusen.

Else­where, Real Madrid, who romped through the group stage, win­ning all six games in Group D, will face CSKA Moscow, while Bay­ern Mu­nich, hop­ing for a home fi­nal, will meet Manch­ester United’s con­querors Basel.

Mar­seille will take on 2010 win­ners In­ter Mi­lan, Ben­fica meet Zenit St Peters­burg, and Lyon of France will face the tour­na­ment out­siders APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus.

In the Europa League, hold­ers Porto will face Premier League lead­ers Manch­ester City, while former Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Ajax Amsterdam will meet Manch­ester United in two glit­ter­ing Round-of-32 ties.

All four teams were in the Cham­pi­ons League and dropped down to the Europa League and were, oddly, the first four teams out of the bag when the draw was made.

Da­vor Suker, who was mak­ing the draw, was un­able to open the plas­tic ball con­tain­ing Manch­ester City’s name and in a mo­ment of farce Uefa’s di­rec­tor of com­pe­ti­tions Gior­gio Marchetti and gen­eral sec­re­tary Gianni In­fantino had to help to open the ball.

The two Manch­ester clubs, who are first and sec­ond in the Premier League and will meet in the third round of the FA Cup next month, avoided each other in the Round-of-32 draw though they could meet later in a com­pe­ti­tion nei­ther re­ally wanted to be in.

City failed to qual­ify for the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League af­ter fin­ish­ing third in Group A be­hind Napoli and Bay­ern Mu­nich, while United, who have reached three of the last four Cham­pi­ons League fi­nals, failed to ad­vance. – SAPA-AFP, Reuters

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