Man United get Europa League group with Sociedad de Silva

former German player Karl-Heinz

Former German player Karl-Heinz “Charly” Korbel places the trophy during the Europa League soccer draw in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

PA

Manchester United will begin another Europa League season in a group with Real Sociedad, Sheriff and Omonoia after Friday’s draw.

Man United, who won the Europa League in 2017 and were beaten runners-up two years ago, entered the second-tier competition sitting just sixth in the Premier League last season.

It was unclear on Friday whether Cristiano Ronaldo will still be at the club for the first round of fixtures on September 8 with more speculation linking him with a move from Old Trafford, this time with Napoli who are in the Champions League. Napoli were drawn into the same group as Liverpool on Thursday.

The draw brings United back to face with longtime Manchester City favorite David Silva, who returned to Spain to play for Sociedad, and two of the longest trips to away games in the draw – in Moldova and Cyprus.

Arsenal’s fifth Europa League campaign in six seasons will be in a group with PSV Eindhoven – coached by former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy – Bodø/Glimt and Zürich.

Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv – who will play their home matches in neighboring Poland – will face Rennes, Fenerbahçe and AEK Larnaca.

The Europa League starts early this season on September 8 and ends more than a month earlier than usual on November 3. It’s because of the World Cup in Qatar, which starts on November 20.

The six rounds of group stage matches span just eight full weeks before a winter break until the knockout round begins on February 16.

Group winners qualify directly for the knockout stages in March and runners-up qualify for the knockout stage, with all eight teams progressing from the Champions League after finishing third in a group there.

The Europa League final will take place on May 31 at the 65,000 capacity Puskás Aréna in Budapest, Hungary.

The third-placed teams in the Europa League groups in November will advance to the knockout stages of the third-tier Europa Conference League.

Europa League teams share around 465 million euros ($466 million) in UEFA prize money.

Each team receives a base fee of €3.63 million ($3.63 million), plus €630,000 per win and €210,000 for each draw in the group stage. Payouts increase for advancing through each knockout round.

A team starting in the Europa group stage and eventually winning the title can win around 40 million euros ($40 million) in UEFA prize money. This is about a third of the expected prize money gains in the Champions League.

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GROUP A: Arsenal (England), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Bodø/Glimt (Norway), Zürich (Switzerland).

GROUP B: Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Rennes (France), Fenerbahçe (Turkey), AEK Larnaca (Cyprus).

GROUP C: Roma (Italy), Ludogorets (Bulgaria), Real Betis (Spain), HJK Helsinki (Finland).

GROUP D: Braga (Portugal), Malmö (Sweden), Union Berlin (Germany), Union Saint-Gilloise (Belgium).

GROUP E: Manchester United (England), Real Sociedad (Spain), Sheriff (Moldova), Omonoia (Cyprus)

GROUP F: Lazio (Italy), Feyenoord (Netherlands), Midtjylland (Denmark), Sturm Graz (Austria).

GROUP G: Olympiakos (Greece), Qarabağ (Azerbaijan), Freiburg (Germany), Nantes (France).

GROUP H: Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), Monaco (France), Ferencváros (Hungary), Trabzonspor (Turkey).

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Naomi C. Amerson