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Celtic to face Arsenal in Champions League play-off

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-07

Scottish side Celtic face an uphill battle to get through to the Champions League after they were drawn against English Premiership giants Arsenal in the play-off stage. Former French champions Olympique Lyonnais will face Anderlecht.

AFP - Celtic were brought back to earth with a bump on Friday after being drawn with English Premier League giants Arsenal in the draw for the play-off stage of the Champions League.

Celtic maintained their interest in Europe's premier club competition on Wednesday by overcoming a 1-0 first leg defeat to Dynamo Moscow in third round qualifying to win the second leg in Russia 2-0.

But the Scottish Premier League runners-up will now have to better Arsenal over two legs if they are to become one of the 10 teams from this draw to join the 22 already qualified for the lucrative group stages.

Elsewhere in the draw, composed of 10 champions group teams and 10 non-champions groups teams, there were few major shocks - and a couple of clubs with smiles on their faces.

Former French champions Lyon, who over the years have consistently made the quarter-finals of the competition, were handed what looked a plum draw against Belgian league runners-up side Anderlecht.

Two of the tightest battles for a group stage spot could take place between Sporting Lisbon, who drew Italians Fiorentina, and Greek side Panathinaikos who were drawn with Atletico Madrid.

The other draw in the non-Champions group pitted German side VfB Stuttgart with Romanian outfit Timisoara.

Meawnwhile there were some unpredictable match-ups from the 'Champions group' draw.

Greek champions Olympiakos will play their first of their two legs against FC Sheriff in Romania, while Austrian champions FC Salzburg will host Israeli counterparts Maccabi Haifa.

In the first leg champions Ventspils, bidding to become the first Latvian side in the group stages, will host Swiss counterparts FC Zurich.

Danish champions FC Copenhagen host Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus in the first leg while Bulgarian title-winners Levski Sofia host Hungarian champions Debrecen.

The first legs of the play-off will be held on August 18 and 19, with the second leg held on August 25 and 26. The winners go into the group stages while the losers drop into the inaugural Europa League group stage.

The draw for the group stages of the Champions League is composed of 32 teams and will be held in Monaco on August 27.

 


The Champions League play-off draw as announced on Friday:

Champions group

Sheriff (MDA) v Olympiakos (GRE)

Salzburg (AUT) v Maccabi Haifa (ISR)

Ventspils (LAT) v FC Zurich (SUI)

FC Copenhagen (DEN) v Apoel Nicosia (CYP)

Levski Sofia (BUL) v Debrecen (HUN)


Non-champions group

Lyon (FRA) v Anderlecht (BEL)

Celtic (SCO) v Arsenal (ENG)

Timisoara (ROM) v VfB Stuttgart (GER)

Sporting Lisbon (POR) v Fiorentina (ITA)

Panathinaikos (GRE) v Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Date created : 2009-08-07

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