The drawing of the round of 32 of the Europa League has produced unequal matches for the four Spanish teams: Celtic-Valencia; Rennes Betis; Lazio – Sevilla; and Villarreal – Sporting. The four departed as heads of series. Sevilla, Betis and Villarreal passed as the first group, while Valencia was one of the four best third who fell to the competition since the Champions League.
The first leg matches will be played on February 14, 2019 and the second leg on the 21st of the same month. However, the Sevilla-Lazio back has been advanced to Wednesday 20 at 18.00 to not coincide with Betis.
Sevilla, five-time champion of the tournament did not have much fortune, since he played one of the worst possible rivals such as Lazio, fifth place in Serie A and a team with significant potential. “It’s a team that we know very well. He even has our homegrown players. We have to get it right because it will be a very demanding elimination. They play with three power stations, like us. They are similar to us in their game, “said Joaquín Caparrós, sports director of Sevilla. Lazio has several players with a past in the Andalusian team.
They are the cases of the midfielders Luis Alberto and Correa, as well as the forward Immobile, who has already scored 10 goals in the Serie A. Lazio also plays in the Danish side Durmisi, ex-Betista player. The tie also presents some important aspects outside the strictly sporting. The Ultras of Lazio are among the most violent in Europe and are among those identified as enemies by the Biris, the radical group of fans of the Andalusian team.
The Villarreal also was very lucky. Their confrontation against the reborn Sporting of Lisbon will be complicated. The team that Luis García Plaza is already heading does not go through his best time at LaLiga, although he has time to get in better conditions to the tie. Sporting, second place in the Portuguese league, has overcome the sports crisis of last season.
He has good players and, right now, he’s on a big streak. The most dangerous elements of the historical Portuguese set are two strikers. One is the veteran Nani, who at his 32 years is living a second youth. The other great argument of the Lusos is the Dutch Dost, who has already scored 10 goals in his league.
Valencia and Glasgow Celtic will play a beautiful tie. The team led by Marcelino won this competition in 2004 and is a favorite against the Scottish team, a historic European champion in 1967, although now he is down. Of course, it is a pairing with flavor.
In the Celtic highlights the Swedish international defender Lustig and young French striker Edouard, 20, with 8 goals in his league. Valencia must go ahead in a competition where it can go a long way. It will be the third time that Valencia faces Celtic in Europe. The last one was in the UEFA Cup of the 2001/02 season. The first, in 1962 in the Fair Cup.
In BetisThe pairing with Rennes, the only team that survives of French football in this competition, has been received with some caution. He is currently 11th in Ligue 1, a sample of his irregular nature. However, in the Betis stand out the physicist of a team that is captained by a classic French football as Ben Arfa, absolute international France and former PSG.
Johansson, Swedish international, is another of his best players. Sarr, a Senegalese winger, is one of his most promising players. He has five goals in the league and impresses with his speed. Niang, former Milan striker and also Senegalese, is another of the interesting players in the French box.
“He has not sat us down. We have been spared a long trip and more powerful equipment a priori. I think it’s affordable, but I’m sure they will think the same as we do, “said Quique Setién, Betis coach, about the tie with the French side. The Andalusian team has always lost in their European qualifiers against French opponents.