Manchester United draws Anderlecht in Europa League quarterfinals

Friday March 17th, 2017

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Still pursuing its first title in the competition, Manchester United was paired with Anderlecht on Friday in the Europa League quarterfinals.

United has never been beyond the quarterfinals in eight previous tries, and will travel to Belgium on April 13 for the first leg against the 1983 UEFA Cup champions. The return match in Manchester will be on April 20.

Also Friday, Ajax was drawn to host Schalke first in a pairing of the two other former winners, while Lyon will meet Besiktas and Celta Vigo was drawn against Genk.

The final is scheduled for May 24 in Stockholm, Sweden—the home country of United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has never won a UEFA knockout competition.

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The winner will earn a Champions League place next season. It could yet be the only route back to the biggest stage for coach United, which is sixth in the Premier League.

Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick on his last visit to Anderlecht in October 2013. It lifted Paris Saint-Germain to a 5-0 win in a Champions League group game.

"The entire stadium gave him a big ovation," Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen said, adding that the wealthy English club would be favored. "The budgets are incomparable but the fact we are here means something."

Celta Vigo is the last team left from Spain, which won five of the past seven Europa Leagues, including three straight by Sevilla.

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