Europa League last 16: LaLiga clubs handed favourable draw
LaLiga trio Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal all avoided the biggest clubs in Friday lunchtime's draw for the Europa League last 16 in Nyon.
The three LaLiga clubs left in the 2018/19 Europa League all avoided the biggest names in the hat in Friday's last-16 draw at UEFA headquarters.
With the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Napoli in the pot in Nyon, all three Spanish representatives faced the possibility of a tie against a side among the favourites to lift the trophy in Baku on 29 May.
Sevilla draw Slavia Prague in last 16
However, five-time winners Sevilla - who are chasing a fourth Europa League triumph in six years - were handed a clash with Czechs Slavia Prague.
Valencia, Villarreal both given Russian tests
Meanwhile, Valencia and Villarreal will both face Russian opposition, having been paired with Krasnodar and Zenit St Petersburg, respectively.
The last-16 ties are scheduled to be played on 7 and 14 March.
2018/19 Europa League last-16 draw in full*:
Chelsea vs Dynamo Kiev
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Inter Milan
Dinamo Zagreb vs Benfica
Napoli vs RB Salzburg
Valencia vs Krasnodar
Sevilla vs Slavia Prague
Arsenal vs Rennes
Zenit St Petersburg vs Villarreal
*First team in each tie at home in the opening leg.
Europa League last-16 draw: as it happened
That's all from me. Thanks for reading!
All in all, that was a pretty favourable draw for the three Spanish sides in the last 16: Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal all avoided the most daunting possible opponents in the hat - the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli - and can all be pretty confident that they'll be in that last-eight draw in mid-March.
Another date for your diary is 15 March - the day after the conclusion of the last 16 - when the draw for the quarter-final stage will take place.
The last-16 ties will - "in principle", says UEFA - be played on 7 and 14 March, with the first team in each pairing playing at home in the opening leg.
Europa League last-16 draw in full: Dynamo Kiev vs Chelsea, Eintracht Frankfurt vs Inter Milan, Dinamo Zagreb vs Benfica, Napoli vs RB Salzburg, Valencia vs Krasnodar, Sevilla vs Slavia Prague, Arsenal vs Rennes, Zenit St Petersburg vs Villarreal.
And finally: Zenit get Villarreal.
Next out are Arsenal. The Gunners will take on... Rennes, Betis' vanquishers!
The Spaniards are tumbling out of the pot now. Sevilla are drawn with... Slavia Prague!
Out comes the first LaLiga team: Valencia will face... Krasnodar!
The fourth tie out of the hat is... Napoli vs RB Salzburg.
Third pairing: Dinamo Zagreb vs Benfica.
Next out are Eintracht Frankfurt, who will play... Inter Milan!
... and here we go! Kiev get... Chelsea!
Marchetti then explains that, though this is an unseeded, open draw, the one restriction to the procedure will, as mentioned, be UEFA's decision to keep the Russian and Ukrainian teams in the draw apart. Dynamo Kiev will therefore be automatically involved in the first pairing out of the hat.
Marchetti brings our special guest onto the stage: former Sevilla goalkeeper Andrés Palop, who was part of the Andalusians' 2006 and 2007 tournament wins - when the Europa League was still the UEFA Cup, of course. "I think all three of the Spanish teams in the competition can make the final," is Palop's earth-shattering analysis of the trio of LaLiga sides in the pot.
After guiding us through the opening chat and said video montage, UEFA's Pedro Pinto introduces the body's deputy general secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, who as ever will be in charge of the draw.
And we're underway in Nyon! Well, when I say underway, I mean the perennially exhaustive pre-draw exposition, obviously. The ceremony begins with a video montage of how the 16 clubs left in the Europa League made it through the round of 32.
Also, you may wish to avail yourself of our guide on how and where to watch the draw - which is about to start any second now.
Incidentally, you might well be interested in some breaking news concerning 2013 winners Chelsea, who are, together with Arsenal, the Premier League's representatives in today's draw. FIFA, world football's governing body, has today announced that the Blues are to be banned from registering new signings until summer 2020 over irregularities in the West London club's signing of international minors. You can read the full story on that here.
There could even have been four LaLiga teams in today's draw... but Quique Setien's reliably box-office Real Betis lost out 3-1 to Rennes in Seville, the Frenchmen booking their last-16 passage 5-3 on aggregrate after what was a thoroughly entertaining tie.
Thursday's action also brought a narrow triumph for Villarreal over Sporting CP, as Pablo Fornals' late goal earned the Submarino Amarillo a 1-1 draw at the Estadio de la Cerámica and sent Javi Calleja's LaLiga strugglers through 2-1 on aggregate.
Meanwhile, last night saw Valencia finish the job against 10-man Celtic, Kevin Gameiro's second-half strike completing a 3-0 aggregate win over Brendan Rodgers' spirited Bhoys - whose faith in turning the tie around, wrote AS' Conrado Valle in his match report, "lasted longer than their fans' litres of beer".
Five-time winners Sevilla reached the last 16 with a 3-0 aggregate win over Lazio, sealed by a 2-0 second-leg victory at the Sánchez-Pizjuán on Wednesday. Wissam Ben Yedder and Pablo Sarabia got the goals to keep up the Andalusians' bid for a fourth Europa League title in the last six years.
The three Spanish teams in last 16 - Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal - make LaLiga the most represented league in the draw... although, given that the country has provided five of the last seven Europa League winners, that should hardly come as a huge surprise. Spain is followed by the Premier League, Serie A and Russia in the last-16 representation stakes: they all have two teams each.
I say *almost*, because there will be one restriction to the draw procedure: the Russian and Ukrainian clubs will not be paired together. The first pairing out of the hat will therefore automatically involve Dynamo Kiev and one of the 13 teams in the pot who are not Zenit St Petersburg or Krasnodar.
It'll be an unseeded and (almost completely) open draw, with clubs from same national federations not kept apart - meaning that there is the possibility of all-Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and Russian League ties.
The 16 sides still in the hunt for a late-May final date in Baku are: Arsenal (ENG), Benfica (POR), Chelsea (ENG), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), Dynamo Kiev (UKR), Eintracht Frankfurt (GER), Inter Milan (ITA), Krasnodar (RUS), Napoli (ITA), RB Salzburg (AUT), Rennes (FRA), Sevilla (ESP), Slavia Prague (CZE), Valencia (ESP), Villarreal (ESP), Zenit St Petersburg (RUS).
Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of the draw for the last 16 of the 2018/19 Europa League, which is due to get underway at 13:00 CET.
Europa League last-16 draw: preview
The three remaining LaLiga clubs in the 2018/19 Europa League are to learn the identity of their next opponents in this lunchtime's last-16 draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon.
LaLiga dominates last-16 hat
After seeing off Lazio, Celtic and Sporting CP, respectively, Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal all take their place in a hat in which Spain has more representatives than any other league.
Also in the last-16 pot are: Arsenal (ENG), Benfica (POR), Chelsea (ENG), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), Dynamo Kiev (UKR), Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) Inter Milan (ITA), Krasnodar (RUS), Napoli (ITA), RB Salzburg (AUT), Rennes (FRA), Slavia Prague (CZE), Zenit St Petersburg (RUS).
Open draw in Switzerland
Due to get underway at 13:00 CET, the draw will be unseeded and will feature no country protection - other than UEFA's decision to keep Russian and Ukrainian sides apart.
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