AC Milan could have to travel to reach Europa League


NYON, Switzerland (AP)AC Milan will have to hit the road to reach the group stage of the Europa League.

The seven-time European champions, who first have to play Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt at home in the third qualifying round, were drawn Friday to possibly travel to face either Turkish club Besiktas or Portuguese club Rio Ave on Oct. 1 in the playoffs.

Milan has missed four seasons of UEFA competitions since 2014 and was unseeded this year.

Tottenham, which plays its next match in North Macedonia against Shkendija, would be at home in the playoff round against either Russian club Rostov or Israeli team Maccabi Haifa.

Celtic’s route to the group stage is all on the road. The winner of its match in Latvia against Riga will travel to face either Sarajevo or Buducnost Podgorica in the playoffs.

The single-leg elimination games will be played in empty stadiums and on a tight schedule in the pandemic-delayed season.

Also, either Rangers or Willem II will host Galatasaray or Hajduk Split, Red Star Belgrade could play at Ararat-Armenia or Celje, and Sporting Lisbon will host Aberdeen and then would play at home against either LASK or Dunajska Streda.

The 48-team draw for the group stage is scheduled for Oct. 2 at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The Europa League final is scheduled for May 26 in Gdansk, Poland, which skipped its turn to host last season’s final because of soccer’s shutdown during the pandemic.

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