Zürich Land Milan In UEFA Cup First Round

The draw for the First Round of the UEFA Cup has been made today at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Among the plum ties are Zürich versus Milan, Napoli meeting Benfica, and Tottenham Hotspur facing Wisla Krakow. Draw: AC Milan (ITA) vs FC Zürich (SUI) Timişoara (ROU) vs Partizan (SRB) Hertha Berlin (GER) vs St. Patrick's (IRL) Banik Ostrava (CZE) vs Spartak Moscow (RUS) Metalist (UKR) vs Beşiktas (TUR) Portsmouth (ENG) vs Guimarães (POR) Kayserispor (TUR) vs Paris SG (FRA) Sevilla (ESP) vs Salzburg (AUT) Wolfsburg (GER) vs Rapid Bucharest (ROU) Sampdoria (ITA) vs Kaunas (LTU) Marítimo (POR) vs Valencia (ESP) Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) vs Sparta Prague (CZE) Manchester City (ENG) vs Omonia (CYP) Young Boys (SUI) vs Club Brugge (BEL) Nancy (FRA) vs Motherwell (SCO) Everton (ENG) vs Standard (BEL) Napoli (ITA) vs Benfica (POR) Bellinzona (SUI) vs Galatasaray (TUR) NEC Nijmegen (NED) vs Dinamo Bucharest (ROU) Racing (ESP) vs Honka (FIN) APOEL (CYP) vs Schalke (GER) Litex (BUL) vs Aston Villa (ENG) Austria Wien (AUT) vs Lech Poznan (POL) Setúbal (POR) vs Heerenveen (NED) Brann (NOR) vs Deportivo La Coruña (ESP) Slavia Prague (CZE) vs Vaslui (ROU) Slaven (CZE) vs CSKA Moscow (RUS) Brondy (DEN) vs Rosenborg (NOR) Cherno More (BUL) vs Stuttgart (GER) Rennes (FRA) vs Twente (NED) Ajax (NED) vs Borac (SRB) Tottenham (ENG) vs Wisla Krakow (POL) Copenhagen (DEN) vs FC Moscow (RUS) Zilina (SVK) vs Levski (BUL) Dortmund (GER) vs Udinese (ITA) Braga (POR) vs Artmedia (SVK) Feyenoord (NED) vs Kalmar (SWE) Hamburg (GER) vs Unirea Urziceni (ROU) Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR) vs St. Etienne (FRA) Nordsjaelland (DEN) vs Olympiacos (GRE) The 80 teams remaining in the competition were first of all split into seeded and unseeded sections, and then into eight sections each, meaning that five seeded teams and five unseeded teams comprised each "group." From there one seeded and one unseeded team were drawn against each other. The groups served only as conduits for the draw: this is a home-and-away, two-legged clash that does not give points or otherwise act as a competitive group. The winners of the following clashes will progress to the group stage proper, also know as the Second Round. Ties are to be played around the midweeks of 18th September and 2nd October. Teams shown first in the draw play the home leg on the first matchday. The draw for the group stage takes place on October 10th. Favourites and European giants Milan - who have never won the UEFA Cup - are favourites to pick up the trophy, and begin their adventure against Swiss side FC Zurich, who themselves somewhat undershot with a third place finish in the Swiss Super League last season. Meanwhile Tottenham Hotspur, managed by two-time winner of the competition Juande Ramos, are second favourites, ahead of the club with which Ramos won the back-to-back titles, Sevilla, who are in third. Spurs meet Wisla Krakow of Poland, who managed to beat Barcelona in something of a dead rubber in the process of being eliminated from the Champions League in qualifying. Sevilla, winners in 2006 and 2007, face Austrian Bundesliga runners-up, FC Red Bull Salzburg, in a game they will no doubt be expected to win. The tie of the round comes as two sides of former glory on a resurgent path meet in the form of Edy Reja's Napoli and Quique Sanchez Flores' Benfica. The Portuguese may just be slight favourites for the clash, though with so many new signings having been made since Quique's summer appointment, the solidarity and familiarity within the Napoli camp may see them edge out the former European Cup winners. Sampdoria meet Kaunas, the side who knocked out last year's finalists Rangers and Udinese meet Borussia Dortmund in another high profile fixture. 2005 winners CSKA Moscow face Slaven, English FA Cup winners Portsmouth play Guimaraes of Portugal and Maritimo face a Valencia side eager to prove itself after failing so dramatically last season. Manchester City face Cypriot side Omonia and will be desperately hoping they can improve their form, while Everton meet Standard Liege, the side who so nearly and perhaps deserved to knock out the Toffees' bitter rivals, Liverpool, in trying to qualify for the Champions League. Ajax face Serbia's Borac, Steve McClaren's FC Twente travel to Rennes, Spartak Moscow meet Banik Ostrava in an all eastern European affair. Paris Saint-Germain, who snuck into the competition courtesy of a French League Cup win despite their Ligue 1 woes, face Kayserispor of Turkey. Martin Jol's promising Hamburger SV side face Unirea Urziceni.


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