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Thread: UEFA League 2009/2010

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Post UEFA League 2009/2010

    The three British clubs in the Europa League have been handed tricky draws for the group stage of the competition.

    Celtic, who enter the competition after failing to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, face Hamburg, Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Rapid Vienna.

    Fulham are in Group E, along with Italian side Roma, Swiss outfit Basel and Bulgaria's CSKA Sofia.

    Everton play Benfica and face lengthy trips to Greece's AEK Athens and BATE Borisov of Belarus.

    David Moyes' Everton defeated Czech side Sigma Olomouc 5-1 to reach the group stage.

    They will face a Benfica side that has a rich pedigree in European football having won the European Cup in 1961 and 1962 and reached the final of the Uefa Cup in 1983.

    But they finished third in the Portuguese league last season and despite boasting players such as Javier Saviola are no longer a major player on the European stage.

    Fulham, embarking on their second European campaign, can look forward to a match against a Roma side able to call upon Francesco Totti.

    Celtic face a Hamburg outfit that finished fifth in the German Bundesliga last season under Martin Jol, who has now departed for Ajax.

    "It is always good to win a competition, but it would be particularly good to become the first winners of the Europa League," said Celtic's Head of Operations Ronnnie Hawthorn.

    "Especially as we were also the first British club to win the European Cup in 1967."

    Tony Mowbray's side must also negotiate trips to Israel and Vienna, where they will take on a Rapid side that knocked Aston Villa out of the competition.

    There are 48 teams at this stage of the competition, split into 12 groups of four, with the top two qualifying for the next round.

    They will be joined at that stage by the eight teams that finish third in their Champions League group.

    The first round of matches is scheduled for Thursday 17 September, with the final taking place in Hamburg, on Wednesday 12 May, 2010.

    Shakhtar Donetsk, who triumphed in the Uefa Cup in May, will be aiming to become the first team to win the competition in its new format.

    Meanwhile, Uefa is to experiment during the group stages with having five referees per match in an attempt to combat players' diving to win penalties and to help resolve other issues.

    Two extra officials will stand next to each goal, behind the dead-ball line, to spot infringements and Uefa hopes the move will mean less foul play and simulation by players.

    The move is also designed to help determine whether the ball has crossed the goal-line when there is doubt.

    Uefa president Michel Platini said: "One day players will give up simulating because referees will see them.

    "For years players have cheated because the referees were not of a good enough quality.

    "I am convinced, with the extra officials, that if you have referees close by it will prevent players from simulating and they will take the right decision.

    "I have always said it is better to have more referees than a multiplication of disciplinary procedures or to refer to videos during matches."

    The move comes after Arsenal's Eduardo won a penalty in Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Celtic - even though there looked to be little contact between the striker and keeper Artur Boruc.

    Group A

    Ajax
    Anderlecht
    DinamoZagreb
    Timisoara

    Group B

    Valencia
    Lille
    Slavia Prague
    Genoa

    Group C

    Hamburg
    Celtic
    Hapoel Tel-Aviv
    Rapid Vienna

    Group D

    Sporting Lisbon
    Heerenveen
    Hertha Berlin
    Ventspils

    Group E

    Roma
    Basel
    Fulham
    CSKA Sofia

    Group F

    Panathinaikos
    Galatasaray
    Dinamo Bucharest
    Sturm Graz

    Group G

    Villarreal
    Lazio
    Levski Sofia
    Salzburg

    Group H

    Steaua Bucharest
    Fenerbahce
    FC Twente
    Sheriff

    Group I

    Benfica
    Everton
    AEK Athens
    BATE

    Group J

    ShakhtarDonetsk
    Bruges
    Partizan Belgrade
    Toulouse

    Group K

    PSV Eindhoven
    FC Copenhagen
    Sparta Prague
    CFR Cluj

    Group L

    Werder Bremen
    Austria Vienna
    Athletic Bilbao
    Nacional





  2. #2
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