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Europa:  Boniface, Leverkusen get Qarabag challenge in last 16

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Super Eagles star Victor Boniface and his Leverkusen teammates will be hoping to continue their unbeaten Bundesliga run in the Europa, after they were drawn against Azeris Qarabag on Friday. First legs to be played on March 7, second legs to be played on March 14.

Meanwhile Three-time winners Liverpool were drawn to face Sparta Prague. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be strong favourites to reach the quarter-finals as they bid for a quadruple in the German’s final season before stepping down as manager.

The first leg will be played in the Czech capital on March 7, with Anfield hosting the return game a week later.

Leverkusen, led by Xabi Alonso, are unbeaten in 32 matches in all competitions this season, and will again face Qarabag, having already seen off the Azeri champions twice in the group stage.

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Also renewing acquaintances will be last year’s Europa Conference League winners West Ham and Freiburg, after David Moyes’ side’s brace of victories against the Bundesliga club in Group A.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan continue their bid to win a maiden Europa League title against Slavia Prague after their knockout round play-off win over Rennes.

Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers, losing finalists in 2022, take on Portuguese Primeira Liga pacesetters Benfica, still chasing a first European trophy since 1962.

Premier League club Brighton continue their first ever European adventure at last season’s runners-up Roma.

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AC Milan overcame a spirited Rennes 5-3 on aggregate despite a 3-2 loss in Thursday’s play-off second leg, where they were joined by fellow former European champions Benfica and Marseille.

Benjamin Bourigeaud scored a hat-trick for Rennes, including a pair of penalties, but goals from Luka Jovic and Rafael Leao ensured Milan were never really in danger of blowing a 3-0 lead from the first leg.

Benfica also saw off French opposition as a 0-0 draw away to Toulouse was enough to send the Portuguese side through following their 2-1 victory in last week’s first leg in Lisbon.

Read Also: Super Eagles: Tinubu approved payment of outstanding debt he inherited – Minister

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Lens, who dropped down from the Champions League into the knockout play-off round, became the third French club to go out after Freiburg fought back from two goals down to win 3-2 after extra time.

David Pereira da Costa and Elye Wahi put Lens in control of the tie following a goalless opening leg, but Roland Sallai struck twice to force extra time in Germany.

Europa Last 16 Draw at a Glance:

Sparta Prague (CZE) v Liverpool (ENG)

Marseille (FRA) v Villarreal (ESP)

Roma (ITA) v Brighton (ENG)

Benfica (POR) v Rangers (SCO)

Freiburg (GER) v West Ham (ENG)

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Sporting Lisbon (POR) v Atalanta (ITA)

AC Milan (ITA) v Slavia Prague (CZE)

Qarabag (AZE) v Bayer Leverkusen (GER)

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