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Europa draw sees Juve face Man City
Italian club to meet big-spending English team in the group stage of Europa League.
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2010 15:58 GMT
The Europa League draw took place in Monaco [AFP] 

Two-time European Cup champions Juventus will meet big-spending Manchester City in the group stage of the Europa League.

The two clubs were drawn together in Monaco on Friday in Group A along with Austrian side Salzburg and Polish team Lech Poznan.

City spent around $187m in the offseason, including about $37m for the Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli.

But Balotelli will have unhappy memories of playing Juventus after being the victim of racial taunts from the club's fans over the past two seasons.

'Enormous ambitions'

Jean-Claude Blanc, the Juventus general manager, said: "[City] is a club which has enormous ambitions. It's not a case of investing one year and then nothing.

"There is a continuity, and a clear will shown to make the club a European great."

Last season, the Italian league banned a section of Juventus fans for chanting discriminatory slogans about Balotelli during an Italian Cup game against Napoli.

Two seasons ago, Juventus was ordered to play a home game behind closed doors for another incident of racism aimed at Balotelli, who is of Ghanian descent.

"I think a new season is a chance to show new behaviour, and to show also at a European level that the Italian supporters, or more particularly those of Juve, have understood the messages and the sanctions that were handed out,'' Blanc said.

"Supporting your team is to support your team, and not to make remarks of a racist nature toward other players.

"We will be extremely demanding and intransigent about this."

Defending Champions

Defending champions Atletico Madrid will play in Group B with Bayer Leverkusen, Rosenborg and Aris, while three-time champions Liverpool face Steaua Bucharest, Napoli and FC Utrecht in Group K.

Metalist Kharkiv and Debrecen - two clubs with recent match-fixing convictions - are in Group I with former European Cup winner PSV Eindhoven and Sampdoria.

Debrecen had two players suspended over suspicions that arose from last season's 4-3 home defeat to Fiorentina in a Champions League game.

Metalist Kharkiv and Karpaty Lviv were each deducted nine points and fined $25,000, and all Karpaty players had penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 imposed over an April 2008 game that ended 4-0 to Metalist.

Karpaty was drawn on Friday in Group J along with Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund, a former European Cup winner.

Groups:

Group A: Lech Poznan (Poland), Salzburg (Austria), Manchester City
(England), Juventus (Italy)

Group B: Rosenborg (Norway), Aris (Greece), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Bayer
Leverkusen (Germany)

Group C: Ghent (Belgium), Lille (France), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal),
Levksi Sofia (Bulgaria)

Group D: PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Villarreal
(Spain), FC Brugge (Belgium)

Group E: BATE Borisov (Belarus), AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), Sheriff
(Moldova), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)

Group F: CSKA Moscow (Russia), Sparta Prague (Czech Republic), Palermo
(Italy), Lausanne (Switzerland)

Group G: Hajduk Split (Croatia), Anderlecht (Belgium), Zenit St. Petersburg
(Russia), AEK Athens (Greece)

Group H:OB Odense (Denmark), Stuttgart (Germany), Young Boys
(Switzerland), Getafe (Spain)

Group I: Sampdoria (Italy), Debrecen (Hungary), Metalist Kharkiv (Ukraine),
PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)

Group J: Paris Saint-Germain (France), Karpaty Lviv (Ukraine), Borussia
Dortmund (Germany), Sevilla (Spain)

Group K: Steaua Bucharest (Romania), Napoli (Italy), FC Utrecht
(Netherlands), Liverpool (England)

Group L: Rapid Vienna (Austria), Besiktas (Hungary), CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria),
FC Porto (Portugal)

Source:
Agencies
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