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Pool in Zenit test, Chelsea draw Sparta- Europa

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NYON, Switzerland, December 20 – Defending champions Atletico Madrid of Spain were on Thursday drawn to play Russian side Rubin Kazan in the knock out stages of the Europa League.

Liverpool were handed a tough tie against the Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The Reds travel to Russia for the second time this season with Liverpool, winners of Europe’s secondary competition in 1973, 1976 and 2001, topping their Group A ahead of Anzhi Makhachkala on goal difference.

Chelsea, after becoming the first Champions League holders to exit at the group stage, have been drawn against Sparta Prague.

The Champions League holders, who finished third behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk as they tried to defend their title, play the first leg away against the Czech side.

It will be a return to his former club for Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Ajax or Steaua Bucharest will be waiting for the winners in the last 16 following both draws in Nyon on Thursday afternoon.

Tottenham have been paired with French big guns Lyon with the first leg in north London while Newcastle are at home first after being pulled out with Metalist Kharkiv. The Magpies then face a long flight for the return in one of the stadium’s used at Euro 2012.

Spurs winger Gareth Bale tweeted: ‘Not an easy draw but a trip to Lyon should be good fun for our fans.’

A victory for Spurs and they will play Inter Milan in the last 16 if the Italian giants see off Cluj. Bale scored a hat-trick against Inter in a 4-3 defeat in the Champions League two years ago and ripped them apart in a 3-1 triumph at home.

Anzhi or Hannover will be waiting for the winners of Newcastle’s tie.

The last 16 games will be played on February 14 and 21.

Match 1: BATE Borisov (BLR) v Fenerbahce (TUR)

Match 2: Inter Milan (ITA) v Cluj (ROM)

Match 3: Levante (ESP) v Olympiakos (GRE)

Match 4: Zenit Saint-Petersburg (RUS) v Liverpool (ENG)

Match 5: Dynamo Kiev (UKR) v Bordeaux (FRA)

Match 6: Bayer Leverkusen (GER) v Benfica (POR)

Match 7: Newcastle (ENG) v Metalist Kharkiv (UKR)

Match 8: Stuttgart (GER) v Genk (BEL)

Match 9: Atletico Madrid (ESP) v Rubin Kazan (RUS)

Match 10: Ajax (NED) v Steaua Bucarest (ROM)

Match 11: Basel (SUI) v Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)

Match 12: Anzhi Makhachkala (RUS) v Hanover (GER)

Match 13: Sparta Prague (CZE) v Chelsea (ENG)

Match 14: Borussia Moenchengladbach (GER) v Lazio (ITA)

Match 15: Tottenham (ENG) v Lyon (FRA)

Match 16: Naples (ITA) v Plzen (CZE)

Quarter-final games (to be played on March 7 and 14):

Winner Match 16 v Winner Match 1

Winner Match 6 v Winner Match 5

Winner Match 12 v Winner Match 7

Winner Match 8 v Winner Match 14

Winner Match 15 v Winner Match 2

Winner Match 3 v Winner Match 9

Winner Match 11 v Winner Match 4

Winner Match 10 v Winner Match 13

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