Ajax and Juventus meet again in Europa League
Ajax and Juventus were drawn together in the next round of the
Europa League on Friday for a rerun of the 1996 Champions League
Ajax will host the first leg of the round-of-32 match on Feb.
18 before traveling to Turin for the return a week later.
Juventus beat Ajax in a shootout following a 1-1 draw in the
1996 Champions League final but the teams’ fortunes have since
The Italian side is in the Europa League after being
eliminated from the Champions League, while Ajax was exposed to the
toughest possible opponent by finishing second in its first-round
The winner over two games will meet Fulham or Shakhtar
Donetsk in the next round. Fulham is in its first ever season of
European football but its Ukrainian opponent is the de facto
defending champion after winning last season’s UEFA Cup before it
was revamped as the Europa League.
Five-time European champion Liverpool and Unirea Urziceni,
who were both eliminated from the Champions League, were paired in
the round of 32, while AS Roma will meet Panathinaikos.
“We would rather be in the Champions League but we’re not,”
Liverpool club ambassador Kenny Dalglish said. “We are where we are
and we have just got to deal with it.
“We will give it as good a go to try to win it as if it was
the Champions League. I think the boys will not let anyone down.”
Red Bull Salzburg, the only team to gain the maximum 18
points from its six Europa League group matches, plays Standard
“Standard has a very good team, especially in attack,”
Salzburg coach Huub Stevens said. “They have great supporters, it
can get real hot there.
“This opponent is difficult, but we could’ve got more
Salzburg was one of the 12 group winners to be favored in the
draw by playing its home match last in the round of 32. It gets no
such protection should it advance.
Unirea also has the perceived advantage of playing second but
general manager Mihai Stoica is not convinced that will be enough
against an opponent that won its fifth Champions League title in
2005 and reached the final two years later.
“For us it, is a great experience,” said Stoica, whose club
reached Romania’s top division just three years ago. “It is like
David and Goliath. For sure, we will line up with 11 Davids and
maybe it is not enough.”
Also, Marseille meets FC Copenhagen, Atletico Madrid meets
Galatasaray, Valencia plays FC Brugge, Everton plays Sporting
Lisbon and Hamburg is up against PSV Eindhoven. Dutch league leader
FC Twente plays Werder Bremen, Athletic Bilbao meets Anderlecht,
Rubin Kazan plays Hapoel Tel Aviv, Villarreal plays Wolfsburg,
Lille meets Fenerbahce, and Hertha Berlin plays Benfica.