Mon | Aug 26, 2019

Europa League draw serves up interesting clashes

Published:Saturday | September 1, 2018 | 12:13 AM
Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan (left) tries to score as AC Milan’s Davide Calabria (right) defends during their UEFA Europa League round of 16 first-leg match at the Milan San Siro Stadium, Italy, last season.


Seven-time European champion AC Milan's reward for being reinstated in the Europa League includes a trip to Luxembourg.

Milan, which won a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal to overturn expulsion for breaking financial rules, was drawn yesterday into a group with newcomer Dudelange. The group also includes Olympiakos and Real Betis.

Arsenal were drawn into a group with Sporting Lisbon, Qarabag, and Vorskla Poltava.

Going to Azerbaijan to play Qarabag on October 4 could be problematic for Arsenal forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is Armenian. Azerbaijan and Armenia are in a territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and were unable to play their games in a 2008 European Championship qualifying group.

Mkhitaryan skipped a trip to Azerbaijan three years ago when his then-club, Borussia Dortmund, played Gabala. Dortmund cited security concerns to protect Mkhitaryan by leaving him at home.

The final will be played in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29. The same stadium will also host Euro 2020 games.

Chelsea, the 2013 Europa League champion, were drawn into a group with PAOK Thessaloniki, BATE Borisov, and Vidi, while five-time champion Sevilla will play Krasnodar, Standard Liege, and Akhisar Belediyespor.