Istanbul (AFP) – Manchester United were placed in the same section as Real Sociedad in Friday’s draw for this season’s UEFA Europa League in Istanbul, while Arsenal will come up against PSV Eindhoven.
United, who won the Europa League in 2017, will also meet Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus in Group E.
Real Sociedad qualified for Europe by finishing sixth in La Liga last season — they faced United in the Champions League group stage in 2013/14, while the Premier League side won 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 32 on their way to the Europa League final in 2021.
Sheriff, the club from the breakaway Russian-speaking region of Transnistria who have won seven straight Moldovan league titles, famously beat Real Madrid away in last season’s Champions League group stages.
Knocked out in this season’s Champions League qualifiers, they have been ordered to play home European games in the capital Chisinau — a decision taken by UEFA because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Cypriot Cup winners Omonia are managed by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon, who played for Manchester City as a youngster.
Arsenal’s draw appears slightly tougher on paper, as they will also take on Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt and Swiss title holders FC Zurich in Group A.
All three of the Gunners’ rivals failed to make it through the Champions League qualifying phase.
PSV, coached by Ruud van Nistelrooy, beat Monaco in the Champions League third qualifying round before losing to Rangers in the play-offs and dropping into the Europa League.
Zurich defeated Hearts in the play-off round.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who won last season’s Europa Conference League, will face Spanish Copa del Rey winners Real Betis in Group C, as well as Bulgarian champions Ludogorets and Finnish champions HJK Helsinki.
Monaco will take on Red Star Belgrade, Ferencvaros and Turkish champions Trabzonspor in Group H.
Dynamo Kyiv, who lost to Benfica in the Champions League play-offs, will face Rennes, Fenerbahce and AEK Larnaca of Cyprus in Group B.
Lazio and Feyenoord were drawn together in Group F, while French Cup holders Nantes — in their first European campaign in two decades — will play Olympiakos, Freiburg and Qarabag of Azerbaijan.
The group stage will begin on September 8 and concludes on November 3, earlier than usual due to the World Cup in Qatar.
This season’s Europa League final will be played at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on May 31, next year.
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