Turkish teams learn Europa League group stage opponents

The UEFA Europa League Trophy is displayed during the draw for UEFA Europa League football tournament at The Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Aug. 31, 2018. (AFP Photo)

The three Turkish teams playing in Europa League all found their opponents after a draw was held Friday.

Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Akhisarspor were all found out who they are going to face in the group stages of the tournament.

Beşiktaş, who eliminated Partizan in the Europa League playoff, was drawn in Group I with Genk (Belgium), Malmo (Sweden) and Sarpsborg (Norway). The Black Eagles signed Torino midfielder Adem Ljajic on the last day of the summer transfer window.

The other Istanbul powerhouse, Fenerbahçe will compete with Anderlecht (Belgium), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Spartak Trnava (Slovakia) in Group D.

Anatolian team Akhisarspor, on the other hand, was drawn with Sevilla (Spain), Krasnodar (Russia) and Standard Liege (Belgium) in Group J.

Marseille, last season's Europa League runner-up, was drawn with Lazio and Eintracht Frankfurt in Group H.

Arsenal was handed a seemingly easier task against Sporting Lisbon, Azerbaijan's Qarabag and Ukraine's Vorskla in Group E.

The other English club in Europe's second-tier competition, Chelsea, will play PAOK Salonika, BATE Borisov from Belarus and Hungarians Vidi in Group L.

Scottish champions Celtic is in Group B, which also includes two Red Bull-owned clubs: Salzburg, last year's semifinalist, and Leipzig as well as Rosenborg of Norway.

Rangers, a fourth seed, face a tough task progressing on their return to Europe against Villarreal, Rapid Vienna and Spartak Moscow in Group G.

Dudelange, the first club from Luxembourg to reach the group stage of the competition, was handed a trip to the San Siro to play AC Milan, who have won eight European trophies and will also face Real Betis and Olympiakos.

Antoine Griezmann, who scored twice in last season's final as Atletico Madrid beat Marseille 3-0, was named the Europa League player of the season.

Griezmann, a World Cup winner with France, also finished fourth in the UEFA player of the season award, which was won by Croatian Luka Modric on Thursday. Modric won the Champions League trophy with Real Madrid last season and helped Croatia reach the World Cup final, where it lost to France.

The first round of Europa League matches will be played Thursday, Sept. 20.

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