Spartak Moscow drawn to face Leipzig in Europa League
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Russian club Spartak Moscow will play at Leipzig in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League before needing to find a neutral venue outside the country to host the return match.
The clubs were drawn to face each other on Friday, about two hours after the UEFA executive committee ruled that Russian and Ukrainian teams will not be allowed to host games in its competitions.
The ruling followed Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. It was added to a 2014 order by UEFA that separates teams from the two countries in its draws following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
UEFA has also stripped St. Petersburg of hosting this year’s Champions League final, replacing it with the Stade de France outside Paris.
The first legs will be played on March 9 and 10, with the return games on March 17.
Also, Barcelona will face Turkish club Galatasaray as it continues its quest for its first Europa League title. The Catalan club will host the first leg.
Barcelona is playing in Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time in 18 years — when it was still known as the UEFA Cup — because it finished third in its Champions League group.
Six-time champion Sevilla will host West Ham in the first leg at the stadium that will also stage the final on May 18.
Also, Atalanta will face Bayer Leverkusen, Braga will take on Monaco, Porto will play Lyon, Rangers will meet Red Star Belgrade and Real Betis was paired with Eintracht Frankfurt.
The inaugural Europa Conference League, which has no Russian or Ukrainian clubs left, also held a draw for the round of 16. The lineup includes former European Cup champions Marseille, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.
Marseille will face Basel, while PSV takes on Copenhagen and Feyenoord faces Partizan Belgrade.
Norwegian club Bodø/Glimt, the lowest-ranked team in the draw, will play Dutch team AZ Alkmaar.
Also, Leicester will face Rennes, Vitesse will play Roma, PAOK Thessaloniki will take on Gent, and Slavia Prague will meet LASK.
The matches will be played on the same dates as the Europa League. The final is scheduled for May 25 in Tirana, Albania.
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