FOOTBALL – As Tweeted by UEFA, “following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16”.
This meant due to the technical “hitch”, the Champions League draw had to be started again from scratch. Accordingly, the initial draw was declared void and was entirely redone at 3.00 pm CET.
Competition rules state that teams who shared a group should not face each other again in this draw. Also, teams from the same country cannot face one another.
However, it seemed all teams must have been entered together as draws came out for Villarreal who was initially set to be paired with Manchester United. Also, the same happened when Atletico´s name was drawn. And they were to be paired against Liverpool.
In the initial draw, these were the pairings: Benfica-Real Madrid, Villarreal-Manchester City, Atlético-Bayern Munich, Salzburg-Liverpool, Inter-Ajax, Sporting Portugal-Juventus, Chelsea-Lille, and PSG-Manchester United.
Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA general secretary, commented before the second draw started: “We want to apologise. We could not verify that the initial draw could be done correctly and that is why we decided to repeat it in full. “
The draw for the eighth of the Champions League was then repeated. These are now the correct teams confirmed to play the next two legs to proceed further in the Champions League. Furthermore, the date for the first fixture is detailed with the second leg return games beginning March 8.
- Salzburg v Bayern Munich – February 16
- Sporting v Man City – February 15
- Benfica v Ajax – February 23
- Chelsea v Lille – February 22
- Atlético v Man United – February 23
- Villarreal v Juventus – February 22
- Inter v Liverpool – February 16
- PSG v Real Madrid – February 15
Two of the other big Spanish teams, Barcelona and Seville did not make it to the Champions League Round of 16 but will compete in the Europa League playoff round. Therefore, they must win on aggregate to make it through to the Europa League Round of 16.
All 8 group stage winners have already progressed to the last 16. The 8 teams who finished runners-up in their group stage have been drawn against the eight third-placed sides from the Champions League group stage games.
These 16 in the playoffs will compete in a two-legged match against their opponents to fill the other 8 places.
The Europa League playoff pairings were decided yesterday and are as follows.
- Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb
- Atalanta v Olympiacos
- RB Leipzig v Real Sociedad
- Barcelona v Napoli
- Zenit Saint Petersburg v Real Betis
- Borussia Dortmund v Rangers
- Sheriff Tiraspol v Braga
- Oporto v Lazio
The home and away legs will take place on February 17 and 24.
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