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Rangers face Sporting Lisbon Europa League test


Rangers face Sporting Lisbon Europa League test
Rangers boss Walter Smith
Rangers finished third in their Champions League group


Scottish Premier League champions Rangers have been drawn against Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in the last 32 of the Europa League.

High-flying Manchester City, who are third in the Premier League, will travel to Greece to play Aris Salonika for the first leg.

Aris beat Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital with a 3-2 away win, a result which knocked the holders out.

Liverpool visit the Czech Republic capital to play Sparta Prague.

Roy Hodgson's side drew four of their six group games while Czech champions Sparta drew three of their group matches.

If all three teams progressed to the last 16, then City would face Besiktas or Dynamo Kiev, Liverpool would play Lech Poznan or Braga while Rangers would take on either Lille or PSV Eindhoven.

Like City, Aris are under the guidance of a former Inter Milan manager in Hector Cuper. They are currently in fifth place in the Greek Super League.

The Argentine has extensive experience in Europe, having previously managed Mallorca, Valencia, Real Betis and Parma.
   
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Aris - we must be favourites to progress to the next round

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However, City are among the form teams in England, unbeaten in nine matches and third in the Premier League.

"They have a very experienced coach who has done very well in Europe with Valencia and Inter Milan," City's football administrator Brian Marwood told BBC Radio 5 live.

"But we feel we have a very strong group of players. The aim was to do well both domestically and in Europe and the squad is developing game-by-game and the balance is getting better."

Other intriguing ties include Seville against Porto, who between them won three of the five Uefa Cup finals between 2003 and 2007 while Ajax take on Anderlecht of Belgium.

All first legs will be played on 7 February with the return games taking place a week later, while the last 16 is scheduled for March 10 and 17.

Full Europa League draw (last 32):

Napoli v Villarreal
Rangers v Sporting
Sparta Prague v Liverpool
Anderlecht v Ajax
Lech Poznan v Braga
Besiktas v Dynamo Kiev
Basle v Spartak Moscow
Young Boys v Zenit St Petersburg
Aris Salonika v Man City
PAOK Salonika v CSKA Moscow
Sevilla v FC Porto
Rubin Kazan v FC Twente
Lille v PSV

Benfica v VfB Stuttgart
Bate Borisov v PSG
FC Metalist Kharkiv v Bayer Leverkusen

Full Europa League draw (last 16):

Benfica or VfB Stuttgart v Bate Borisov or PSG
Besiktas or Dynamo Kiev v Aris Salonika or Man City
Rubin Kazan or FC Twente v Young Boys or Zenit St Petersburg
PAOK Salonika or CSKA Moscow v Sevilla or FC Porto
Lille or PSV v Rangers or Sporting
FC Metalist Kharkiv or Bayer Leverkusen v Napoli or Villarreal
Anderlecht or Ajax v Basle or Spartak Moscow
Sparta Prague or Liverpool v Lech Poznan or Braga
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