Europa League Draw: Seven-time European champions AC Milan placed in group with Celtic, Sparta Prague, Lille
AC Milan, which last won the Champions League in 2007, came from the pot of third-seeded teams. Scottish champion Celtic was the top-seeded team.
Geneva: Seven-time European champion AC Milan were drawn on Friday to face Celtic, Sparta Prague and Lille in Group H of the Europa League.
Milan were the last of the 48 teams to reach the group stage after a wild, 24-penalty shootout in Portugal against Rio Ave.
In the rain-swept shootout, three Rio Ave players failed even to get on target with penalties that could have won the match. Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma later made a decisive save that led to the victory.
Milan, who last won the Champions League in 2007, came from the pot of third-seeded teams. Scottish champion Celtic were the top-seeded team.
Arsenal, the Europa League runner-ups in 2019, are the highest-ranked team in the competition and were grouped with Rapid Vienna, Molde and Dundalk. North London rivals Tottenham will face LASK, Ludogorets Razgrad and Royal Antwerp.
Roma are the top-seeded team in a group with two clubs that started the season in the Champions League — Young Boys and Cluj. CSKA Sofia are also in that group.
Spanish club Villarreal face the most demanding travel schedule, facing Azeri club Qarabağ, Israeli team Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Turkish club Sivasspor.
The group stage begins on 22 October and runs through 10 December. UEFA said last week that games postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic can be made up until 28 January.
Games can be moved to a neutral country if virus cases or travel restrictions prevent the home team from hosting or the away team from traveling to the original venue. Home fans can attend games at up to 30% of a stadium's capacity with approval from domestic public authorities, UEFA said Thursday. No tickets will go to the away teams.
Ahead of the draw ceremony at UEFA headquarters, Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku was named the best player in the Europa League last season. Lukaku scored seven goals in six games, including in the 3-2 loss to Sevilla in the final.
Spending on transfer fees was $4.86 billion, a fall of 13.6 percent compared to 2020 and a decrease of 33.8 percent compared to the record levels of 2019.
Sevilla were without their coach Julen Lopetegui, who the club said was showing Covid-like symptoms earlier on Wednesday, while six players were out through injury, including Jules Kounde and Jesus Navas.
Southampton's new ownership group Sport Republic was founded by Rasmus Ankersen, who recently stepped down as Brentford co-director of football.