EUROPA LEAGUE

Manchester United draw St Etienne in Europa League round of 32 as Paul Pogba faces brother Florentin while Tottenham take on Belgium club Gent

EUROPA LEAGUE

EUROPA LEAGUE

Manchester United’s Europa League adventure will continue with a last-32 tie against St Etienne, a match-up that Paul Pogba will relish as it sees him taking on his brother Florentin.

Tottenham will travel to face Belgium club Gent having entered the competition following their third-place finish in the Champions League group stage.

United will be away for their second leg on Wednesday February 22 in accordance with the principles set by the Club Competitions Committee, as local rivals Lyon are at home to AZ Alkmaar on the Thursday.

The level of intrigue in United’s tie with St Etienne is heightened by the prospect of former Juventus midfielder Pogba facing his brother over two legs.

Florentin, a Guinea international defender, is not to be confused with his twin Matthias, who plays for Sparta Rotterdam.

The 26-year-old was linked with a move to the Premier League in the summer with both Sunderland and Hull expressing interest.

With the January transfer window opening in three weeks’ time, there is the possibility he may not be at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for much longer.

The Ligue 1 outfit are eighth in their domestic league but were unbeaten in their six Europa League group games, winning three and drawing three in matches against Anderlecht, Mainz and Qabala.

LOWDOWN ON OPPONENTS 

ST ETIENNE (v Manchester United)

St Etienne finished top of Group C after picking up three wins and three draws but scored just eight goals in their six group matches.

A mixed start to their domestic season, which has consisted of six wins, seven draws and four defeats in their opening 17 games, has left Christophe Galtier’s men in eighth place in the Ligue 1 table.

GENT (v Tottenham)

Belgian side Gent finished second in Group H after winning their final match away at Konyaspor, having picked up their only other victory of the group against the same opponents at home in September.

They conceded 10 goals in their two matches against group winners Shakhtar Donetsk – the first a 5-0 away loss and the second a 5-3 defeat on home soil – and played out two draws with Braga.

Jose Mourinho’s side finished second in their group behind Turkish giants Fenerbahce, meaning they were not among the seeded clubs at the draw in Switzerland on Monday.

It was made clear prior to the draw that as St Etienne and Lyon would be handed home ties in the same leg, Lyon would have priority having finished in a higher position in Ligue 1 last season.

Tottenham were among the four seeded sides to have entered Europe’s secondary competition and they were handed a two-legged tie with Belgium outfit Gent, who finished third in the their top-flight last campaign.

It remains to be seen if manager Mauricio Pochettino opts to take Europe’s secondary competition seriously after being criticised for his selection policy in the crucial defeat in Monaco in the Champions League.

But Spurs will fancy their chances against Gent, who booked their place in the knockout stage in dramatic fashion on matchday six.

EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW AND LAST 32 MATCH DATES 

The draw for the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 is as follows:

Athletic Bilbao v Apoel Nicosia

Legia Warsaw v Ajax

Anderlecht v Zenit St Petersburg

FC Astra Giurgiu v Genk

Man Utd v St Etienne

Villarreal v Roma

Ludogorets v FC Copenhagen

Celta Vigo v Shakhtar Donetsk

Olympiacos v Osmanlispor

AA Gent v Tottenham

Rostov v Sparta Prague

Krasnodar v Fenerbahce

Borussia M’gladbach v Fiorentina

AZ v Lyon

Hapoel Beer Sheva v Besiktas

PAOK Salonika v Schalke 04

First legs: February 16

Second legs: February 23

Needing a victory to progress, Kalifa Coulibaly scored a 94th-minute winner against Turkish side Konyaspor as Braga were denied a round of 32 place.

Among the other standout ties, Villarreal take on Roma, while Borussia Monchengladbach drop into the Europa League and face Italian club Fiorentina.

The 2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk, who were the leading scorers in the group stage with 21 goals as they won all six of their games, face Celta Vigo in another match that will see one of the more stronger sides eliminated.

The first legs are scheduled for February 16, with the returns taking place on February 23. The Europa League final will be held at Stockholm’s Friends Arena on May 24.

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