Celtic stuck with Inter Milan; Liverpool land Besiktas; Spurs-Fiorentina in Europa League draw
Scottish giants Celtic were handed the unenviable task of taking down traditional Italian power club Inter Milan in the Europa League round of 32 draw on Monday.
Celtic finished second in a group with Red Bull Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Astra Giurgiu, this after exiting the Champions League in the play-off round to Slovenians Maribor only after they advanced from the third qualifying round on a technicality against Legia Warsaw, who dominated their tie 6-1 but fielded an ineligible player toward the end of the second leg.
Now Celtic must Inter Milan, mired in a difficult season in Serie A, where they are 12th, but who went through the group phase unbeaten.
Liverpool, fresh off their own Champions League exit, landed a challenge in Turkish leaders Besiktas, who also completed an unbeaten group campaign and edged Tottenham Hotspur for the top of Group C.
Spurs themselves have been paired with Fiorentina, like Inter struggling with indifferent form in Serie A at eighth.
Everton, winners of a tough Group H over Wolfsburg and eliminated sides Krasnodar and Lille, earn a reasonable draw with Swiss club Young Boys.
Legia, knocked out of the Champions League for their infraction, won Group L and will now get a tough assignment in Dutch giants Ajax.
Other matches pitting clubs from Europe’s biggest leagues include Sevilla of La Liga and Borussia Monchengladbach of the Bundesliga and Torino (Serie A) v Athletic Bilbao (La Liga).
Italy’s AS Roma, descending from the Champions League, faces Feyenoord of the Netherlands, Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit St Petersurg side, also dropping out of Europe’s top-tier competition, face Dutch leaders PSV Eindhoven.
Sporting Lisbon, too, arrives in the Europa League via a third-place finish in their Champions League group, and face Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
Aalborg of Denmark and Club Brugge of Belgium; Anderlecht of Belgium and Dinamo Moscow of Russia; Dnipro of Ukraine and Olympiakos of Greece; and Villarreal of Spain and Red Bull Salzburg of Austria; Guingamp of France and Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine; and Napoli of Italy and Trabzonspor of Turkey will all face off, as well.
The first legs of the first knockout round will be played on February 19, and the second on February 26.
Round of 32 draw:
Young Boys (Switzerland) v Everton (England)
Torino (Italy) v Athletic Bilbao (Spain)
Sevilla (Spain) v Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany)
Wolfsburg (Germany) v Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)
Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands) v Legia Warsaw (Poland)
Aalborg (Denmark) v Club Brugge (Belgium)
Anderlecht (Belgium) v Dinamo Moscow (Russia)
Dnipro (Ukraine) v Olympiakos (Greece)
Trabzonspor (Turkey) v Napoli (Italy)
Guingamp (France) v Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)
Villarreal (Spain) v Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)
AS Roma (Italy) v Feyenoord (Netherlands)
PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) v Zenit St Petersburg (Russia)
Liverpool (England) v Besiktas (Turkey)
Tottenham Hotspur (England) v Fiorentina (Italy)
Inter Milan (Italy) v Celtic (Scotland)
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Published: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM