Football: Masters of Rangers await Liverpool

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The Independent Online
Liverpool, Aston Villa and Chelsea, three of England's survivors in this season's European knock-out competitions, will all start their next ties away from home. Nick Harris reports.

Liverpool, who overcame Celtic in the first round of the Uefa Cup on Tuesday, were given a difficult second-round tie when they were drawn against Strasbourg, the French side who eliminated Rangers.

Aston Villa, who beat Bordeaux in the second round, were drawn against Athletic Bilbao of Spain, while Chelsea, who progressed to the last 16 of the European Cup-Winners' Cup on Thursday, were rewarded with a tie against Tromso, the Norwegian side. Liverpool and Villa travel to their first leg matches on 21 October, with Chelsea going to Norway two days later.

Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, was not unhappy with his side's draw, but said: "Looking around the rest of the draw there aren't many teams left that you'd say `I fancy them'. I've seen [Strasbourg] a few times last season and they were clearly a good side, technically excellent. Although they haven't started this season very well you'll find that they'll raise their game to play against us."

Aston Villa's manager, Brian Little, will be returning to Bilbao 20 years after playing against them in the same competition. Villa overcame Bilbao then, but Little expects a tougher contest this time. "The tournament is hard and a lot of people will look upon Bilbao as a threat, having claimed a hell of a scalp in knocking out Sampdoria," he said.

Ruud Gullit, whose Chelsea side perhaps have the easiest passage, thinks that, although they will need the right attitude, having two Norwegians, Tore Andre Flo and Frode Grodas, in their squad "will be an advantage to us and ensure that we don't have too many surprises". Whether the Cup- Winners' Cup tie later this month will be played in Tromso's 12,000-capacity Alfheim stadium near the Arctic Circle, or in Oslo, has yet to be decided.

The conquerors of Leicester and Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and PAOK Salonika, have been drawn against each other, with the Greek side travelling to Spain for the first leg.

Uefa have ordered Spartak Moscow and Sion to replay their first-round, second-leg match. The Swiss side drew 2-2 draw in Moscow on Wednesday, losing 3-2 on aggregate, but the crossbars on the Russian goals were too low.

Manchester United's Champions' League match with Kosice at Old Trafford is likely to be put back 24 hours to 27 November to allow live television coveragee of that match and Newcastle's game in Barcelona, which will be played on 26 November as scheduled.

Uefa Cup second-round draw

Ajax (Neth) v Udinese (It)

Sporting Braga (Por) v Dinamo Tbilisi (Geor)

Metz (Fr) v Karlsruhe (Ger)

Strasbourg (Fr) v Liverpool

Internazionale (It) v Lyon (Fr)

Rapid Vienna v 1860 Munich

MTK Budapest v Croatia Zagreb

Spartak Moscow or Sion (Swit) v Real Valladolid (Sp)

Schalke 04 (Ger) v Anderlecht (Bel)

Aarhus (Den) v Twente Enschede (Neth)

Athletic Bilbao (Sp) v Aston Villa

Auxerre (Fr) v OFI Iraklion (Gr)

Steaua Bucharest v Bastia (Fr)

Rotor Volgograd (Rus) v Lazio (It)

Atletico Madrid v PAOK Salonika (Gr)

Club Bruges (Bel) v VfL Bochum (Ger)

First legs to be played 21 October, second legs 4 November

Cup-Winners' Cup second-round draw

Tromso (Nor) v Chelsea

Germinal Ekeren (Bel) v VfB Stuttgart (Ger)

Lokomotiv Moscow v Kocaelispor (Turk)

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukr) v Vicenza (It)

Real Betis (Sp) v FC Copenhagen

AEK Athens v Sturm Graz (Aut)

Nice (Fr) v Slavia Prague

Primorje Ajdovscina (Sloven) v Roda JC Kerkrade (Neth)

First legs to be played 23 October, second legs 6 November