City face Steaua in Champions League play-offs

NYON (Switzerland) • Pep Guardiola's Manchester City got a relatively easy tie as the Champions League group-phase play-offs were drawn in Nyon yesterday.

The English football club landed Romania's Steaua Bucharest.

"I wanted any team but City," said Steaua coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, while City's sporting director Txiki Begiristain took a cautious approach.

"It's going to be a difficult tie because Steaua are on the up again in Europe and have a lot of talent," the Spaniard said.

The plum ties cast 2004 Champions League winners Porto against Italy's Roma, while Spain's Villarreal take on French side Monaco.

Villarreal coach Marcelino was happy to avoid Roma but said Monaco would be tough opponents. "Roma were the most difficult and then you had Monaco, who were knocked out by Valencia last season, but they're one of the best sides in France," he said.

  • CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS

    • Steaua Bucharest (Rom) v Manchester City (Eng)

    • Ludogorets (Bgr) v Plzen (Cze)

    • Celtic (Sco) v Hapoel Beer Sheva (Isr)

    • FC Copenhagen (Den) v Apoel Nicosia (Cyp)

    • Dundalk (Ire) v Legia Warsaw (Pol)

    • Dinamo Zagreb (Cro) v Red Bull Salzburg (Aut)

    • FC Porto (Por) v Roma (Ita)

    • Ajax (Ned) v FC Rostov (Rus)

    • Young Boys (Sui) v Moenchengladbach (Ger)

    • Villarreal (Esp) v Monaco (Fra)

The play-offs are contested over two legs on Aug 16-17 and 23-24 with the winners going into the lucrative Champions League group phase.

In the Europa League, English Premier League side West Ham have been drawn to play Astra Giurgiu in the play-off round.

The Romanian champions will need no introduction to West Ham after they knocked out Slaven Bilic's side in the competition last season.

If West Ham can navigate a way past Astra over two legs this time around, they will join Manchester United and Southampton in the group stages.

The first leg will take place on Aug 18, before West Ham host Astra at the Olympic Stadium a week later.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'City face Steaua in Champions League play-offs'. Print Edition | Subscribe