Man U, Rostov in potentially volatile match in Europa League
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 25, 2017 07:25 AM
Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan, center back to camera, celebrates scoring the opening goal with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 2nd right, and other teammates during a Europa League round of 32 second leg soccer match between Saint Etienne and Manchester United at Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint Etienne, France, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)NYON, Switzerland (AP) — The risk of fan violence looked high in the last 16 of the Europa League after Friday's draw produced a volatile matchup between Manchester United and Rostov.
Russian and English fans clashed in Marseille last year during the European Championship. United and Rostov are followed by firms of hardcore fans.
According to UEFA coefficients, Rostov is the lowest-ranked team left in the tournament but it finished second in the Russian league last season and beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage last November.
United, the only remaining English club, is a three-time European champion but has never won the second-tier tournament.
"It will be a nice experience, we will have the chance to play at Old Trafford," said Rostov midfielder Andrei Prepelita. "They have top players and a top coach, but we've had good results and we beat Bayern. It is good to play the first leg at home and I hope the cold weather will be on our side."
United manager Jose Mourinho said it was a "bad draw in every aspect," pointing to Rostov's quality and the distance United needs to travel for the first leg on March 9. The two legs will be played either side of United's FA Cup quarterfinal match at Chelsea on March 13.
The draw also pitted Gent against Genk, only the second all-Belgian matchup in the history of UEFA competitions.
French side Lyon will be up against Roma, and there will be an all-German showdown between Schalke and Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Lyon advanced to the last 16 by thrashing AZ Alkmaar 11-2 over two legs, the second biggest aggregate in the competition's history. Lyon and Roma met in the 2007 Champions League round of 16, when the Italian side prevailed 2-0 on aggregate.
Also, it was: Celta Vigo vs. Krasnodar, APOEL vs. Anderlecht, Olympiacos vs. Besiktas and Copenhagen vs. Ajax.
The first legs will be on March 9, and the return legs a week later.
The final will be in Stockholm on May 24. The winner gains entry to the Champions League.