Draw reveals tough knockout clashes in Europa League

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Nyon, Dec 14 (IANS) The draw here on Monday for the Europa League knockout stage revealed several tough matches. The draw involved 24 clubs who qualified from the group stage, plus eight clubs who came from the group stage of the Champions League after reaching third place.

Borussia Dortmund will face Portugal’s Porto in a game that features second-place holders of the Bundesliga and the Primeira Liga, respectively, while Istanbul club Galatasaray will play Italy’s Lazio, Olympique de Marseille will face Athletic Bilbao and Tottenham Hotspur will have a tough game with Fiorentina, reports Efe.

Manchester United have had better luck, placed against Danish side Midtjylland, while the German coach of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp, will have to return to his country to face Augsburg.

Sevilla, holder of the title for the last two years, will play against Norwegian Molde, while Valencia and Villarreal will face Rapid Vienna and Naples, respectively.

Turkey’s Fenerbahce will tackle Lokomotiv Moscow, Belgian Anderlecht will play Olympiakos and Sparta Prague will meet Russian Krasnodar.

Also, Swiss Sion will compete against Sporting Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk will face Schalke 04, Sporting Lisbon will play Bayer Leverkusen and, finally Saint Etienne will encounter the Swiss Basel.

The first legs will be played on February 18, 2016, while the second legs will be played on February 25.

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