Wednesday, 10 December 2008

CL - Last 16: Italian trio face tricky draw

The draw for the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League next week could hand Juventus and Roma with tough ties, despite topping their groups.

UEFA Champions LeagueThere will almost certainly be a few unusually big clashes at the last 16 stage, as the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid, along with Inter, finished runners-up in the group stage.

While Juventus and Roma will be seeded in the draw on December 19, Inter, having finished behind Panathinaikos in Group B, risk going head-to-head with Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United or Bayern Munich.

Jose Mourinho's side could also be drawn with his former club FC Porto, where he won the European title in 2004.

Claudio Ranieri could take his Juve side to former clubs Chelsea or Atletico Madrid, while they may also draw Sporting Lisbon, Villarreal, Lyon or Arsenal.

Luciano Spalletti's Roma, who topped Group A ahead of Chelsea, could face Sporting Lisbon, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Lyon, Arsenal or Real Madrid.

[Group winners]
Roma, Panathinaikos, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, FC Porto, Juventus.

[Group Runners-up]
Chelsea, Inter, Sporting Lisbon, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Lyon, Arsenal, Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina will join AC Milan, Sampdoria and Udinese in the UEFA Cup after they secured third spot in Group F, behind Bayern Munich and Lyon. Cesare Prandelli's side will return to the UEFA Cup, following last year's run to the semi-finals, in the Round of 32 stage.

[UEFA Cup]
Bordeaux, Werder Bremen, Shakhtar Donetsk, Marseille, Aalborg, Fiorentina, Dynamo Kiev, Zenit St Petersburg.

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