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Europa Conference League draw LIVE: Aston Villa to face Ajax after learning last 16 fate

Unai Emery’s team hope to emulate West Ham and lift the trophy after making it through to the knockout rounds

Michael Jones
Friday 23 February 2024 12:55 GMT
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The Europa Conference League has reached the last 16 stage
The Europa Conference League has reached the last 16 stage (AFP via Getty Images)

The Europa Conference League last 16 draw took place this afternoon with Unai Emery’s Aston Villa flying the flag as the lone British team in the competition.

Villa who qualified as one of the group winners alongside the likes of Club Brugge and Fiorentina where pulled out of the pot against Dutch side Ajax.

It is one of the more juicier ties for the next stage of the competition with Union Saint-Gilloise vs PAOK another potential eye opener.

Emery, who has plenty of success in European competition under his belt, will know that Villa have drawn one of the more dangerous teams but, combined with their impressive form in the Premier League this season, he will be confident about reaching the quarter-finals.

Relive the last 16 draw and reaction as Aston Villa seek to continue their European journey:

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How does the Europa Conference League draw work?

The ECL last 16 draw takes place in exactly the same way as the Europa League one.

The draw features 16 teams. The eight group stage winners from the Conference League group stage are seeded, and will face the knockout round play-off winners.

No side can face another team from the same national association.

Ties take place over two legs, with group winners at home in the second legs. Ties level after 180 minutes will go to extra time irrespective of the number of goals each team has scored at home and away.

If the teams still cannot be separated after the additional 30 minutes, the tie goes to a penalty shoot-out.

Mike Jones23 February 2024 10:14
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Amid Liverpool injury concerns, one thing is keeping trophy hopes alive

At the start of this season, Liverpool’s back-up stopper still had more years to his name than senior appearances for the club. While that’s not too much of an issue for youngsters making their way in the game, Caoimhin Kelleher isn’t really a youth candidate any longer: even in goalkeeper terms, 25 years old is pushing towards mid-career territory and with Alisson Becker ahead of him at Anfield, regular minutes have always been hard to come by.

But this season has been slightly different. A start at Brentford on short notice, after the Brazilian suffered an apparent hamstring injury on the eve of the game, brought Kelleher up to 14 appearances for the campaign, 35 for the club overall.

It’s easily his best season in terms of game time, but also for consistency of performances, with Jurgen Klopp describing his showing in the 4-1 win at the Gtech Community Stadium as “exceptional”.

Amid Liverpool injury concerns, one thing is keeping trophy hopes alive

As Caoimhin Kelleher prepares to face a second Wembley final and play a key part in the title run, the stand-in goalkeeper is an example of how Liverpool are navigating a potential crisis to challenge on all fronts

Mike Jones23 February 2024 10:07
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Europa League draw LIVE

The balls are being prepared in Nyon. An hour to go until the last 16 draw takes place and Liverpool, West Ham and more discover who they’re facing in the next round.

Mike Jones23 February 2024 10:00
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Liverpool, Leverkusen and Brighton stand out says Zalewski

Ahead of this morning’s Europa League draw Roma midfielder Nicola Zalewski spoke about who he feels are the favourites to win the trophy.

“At this stage in the competition, I think every team is strong,” he said, “Liverpool, Leverkusen and Brighton definitely stand out by name and by their style of play, but I’m 100 percent convinced that if we draw one of these three, they will show us respect.”

Mike Jones23 February 2024 09:52
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Europa Conference League draw

Following the conclusion of the Europa League last 16 draw will be the draw for Europe’s third competition the Europa Conference League.

It is a very similar draw to the previous one with seeded and unseeded teams drawn against each other. This draw starts at 12pm GMT and features Aston Villa as the only British team in the competition.

Mike Jones23 February 2024 09:46
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Moyes defiant as fan pressure mounts on West Ham boss

David Moyes is coming under pressure from West Ham fans who would like to see more exciting football from the team amid a run of poor results.

The manager was staunch in his own defence and reminded fans of what he has achieved at the London Stadium including the fact the Hammers won the European Conference League last season.

“I am pretty long in the tooth, you can never please everybody, it would be hard to say there have been many better times at West Ham,” he said.

“Maybe they want something different, but they would honestly have to say it has been the best times they have had at the club with regards winning a European trophy, the league positions.

“Maybe there would be managers who excite them more, possibly, but the one who is sitting here wins more.

“My response would be to say we are hurting really badly as a team and a manager because we have not had good results for five or six weeks now but this year already we have beaten Tottenham, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, we must not forget there were good times not so long ago.

“We have not been playing well, but there are some mitigating circumstances since January 1, with boys going to the African Cup of Nations, Jarrod Bowen came back from England with an injury and has not been the same since, we have been without Lucas Paqueta as well for most of the time so there are things that have affected us.

“I have seen other teams have similar, Newcastle, Man Utd, Man City before the World Championship, Arsenal over Christmas.

“There is no divine right that West Ham don’t have a dicky period at some point in the season. We are hoping we can get back on it.”

Mike Jones23 February 2024 09:40
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How does the Europa League draw work?

The draw will feature 16 teams, the eight group winners as well as the eight teams that came through the playoffs. No side can face another team from the same national association, but an English side could draw Rangers.

Ties take place over two legs, with the first legs set for March 7 and the second legs a week later on March 14. With no away goals advantage, matches level after 180 minutes will go to extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shoot-out.

Mike Jones23 February 2024 09:30
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How to watch the Europa League draw?

The draw will be live-streamed via the Uefa Europa League website. Viewers can also watch it on TNT Sports 2 as well as via the Discovery+ app.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

Mike Jones23 February 2024 09:20
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When is the draw?

The Europa League round of 16 draw takes place at Uefa’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday 23 February. The draw is set to commence at 11am GMT.

Mike Jones23 February 2024 09:12
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Europa League last 16 draw: What can the British teams play?

With Liverpool, West Ham, Brighton and Rangers all seeded for the draw, their options are as follows:

  • AC Milan (ITA)
  • Benfica (POR)
  • Freiburg (GER)
  • Marseille (FRA)
  • Qarabağ (AZE)
  • Roma (ITA)
  • Sparta Praha (CZE)
  • Sporting CP (POR)
Jack Rathborn23 February 2024 09:03

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