Europa League draw: Benfica and Sporting discover their opponents
Both Benfica and Sporting went into the hat for the Europa League Round of 32.
Benfica were one of the seeded sides for the draw, after finishing as one of the four best 3rd place teams int he Champions League, while Sporting were unseeded, having finished 2nd in their Europa League group, behind English Premier League side Arsenal.
Benfica face a trip to Turkey, having been drawn against Porto’s Champions League opponents Galatasaray, while Sporting will have the task of facing La Liga outfit Villarreal.
Benfica got one of the hardest draws on offer, having to face a Champions League pedigree opponent despite having been seeded for the draw.
Galatsaray started their Champions League campaign with a convincing victory over Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow, beating Manuel Fernandes’ side 3-0. However, after then only picking up 1 point from their next 5 games, Galatsaray finished third in their group on just 4 points.
They put on an impressive display against Porto in the final game of the group stage though despite their defeat, battling hard but ultimately losing 3-2. They have proven their quality and they will undoubtedly be tricky opposition for the Portuguese outfit.
Sporting, on the other hand, knew their opponent would prove stern competition, having been an unseeded side for the draw, with sides such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Napoli, Inter Milan, Valencia, Sevilla and Bayer Leverkusen on the other side of the bracker.
With that in mind, drawing a team that are currently 17th in the Spanish top flight, just 1 place and 1 point above the relegation zone, the draw couldn’t have gone that much better for the Lisbon outfit.
Of course, the matches will not be played for another two months, which means that club form and league position could change quite dramatically by then.