Mikel Arteta will resist the temptation to rest his best players in the Europa League as Arsenal look to close on a first Premier League title in 19 years.

Arsenal are out of both domestic cup competitions, which has allowed them to focus on the league, where they hold a two-point lead over champions Manchester City and have a game in hand.

The distraction of the Europa League is soon to return, however, with the Gunners paired with Sporting CP in Friday's last-16 draw.

A run in UEFA's secondary club competition could hinder Arsenal's hopes of holding off City, with fans desperate to win the league for the first time since their 'Invincibles' season of 2003-04.

But Arteta will not think like that.

While the manager said Arsenal would have the opportunity to "share many more minutes around the squad", he will not leave key men at home for European games.

"We will try to pick, all the time, the team we believe is the best to win on the day," Arteta said.

"Because if you do something different people will say: 'Why did you pick this team and we didn't win in the Europa League?' You're never going to win that battle.

"We're going to pick the players that are in the best possible condition, because it's really important to win the game to be in a better condition to win the next one."

Arsenal are scheduled to visit Portugal on March 9 before welcoming Sporting to Emirates Stadium a week later.

Sivasspor coach Riza Calimbay acknowledged it will be tough for Super Lig teams to return to football as his side drew Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League.

Turkey's top flight was suspended in the wake of the February 6 earthquakes that devastated the country and neighbouring Syria, leaving over 50,000 dead.

Having topped Group G in the Europa Conference League last year, Sivasspor bypassed the competition's knockout round play-off phase this month.

But as they prepare for domestic competition to restart this weekend ahead of their return to Europe, Calimbay noted it would be a very different game that emerges.

"It is very difficult to talk after the earthquake," he told the club's website. "Talking about football is very difficult. I think our problems are not over yet.

"We need to start playing football [but] the league will be chaotic, everything will be chaotic. Some matches will not be played. It will be a different league, it will be a sad league.

"Every time we play a match, everyone will have tears. No one can give themselves fully to the game. But our teams that go to Europe, we have to do whatever is necessary to bring points to Turkey."

Sivasspor's fellow Super Lig side Istanbul Basaksehir will also return to Europa Conference League action, having drawn Gent in the last-16 stage.

Elsewhere, Premier League outfit West Ham face off with AEK Larnaca, while Serie A team Lazio will take on AZ after edging out CFR Cluj.

Villarreal take on Anderlecht, with Nice set to square off with Sheriff.

Basel face Slovan Bratislava and Lech Poznan encounter Djurgarden in the remaining ties, with home and away legs set to be played over March 9 and 16.

Europa League last-16 draw in full:

AEK Larnaca v West Ham
Anderlecht v Villarreal
Basel v Slovan Bratislava
Fiorentina v Sivasspor
Gent v Istanbul Basaksehir
Lazio v AZ
Lech Poznan v Djurgarden
Sheriff v Nice

UEFA has launched an investigation after Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic was punched by a PSV fan during Thursday's Europa League match.

The on-field skirmish came near the end of the game, which saw PSV win 2-0 but suffer a 3-2 aggregate elimination against their LaLiga opponents.

Dmitrovic pinned down the pitch invader and held him to the ground before security arrived to escort him away.

UEFA is understood to have opened a case following the incident, which has been condemned by PSV, who said the fan should not have been in the stadium in the first place.

The Dutch club said in a statement: "PSV strongly condemn the incident on Thursday evening when a man invaded the pitch and confronted the goalkeeper. The person involved had already been handed a stadium ban."

PSV general manager Marcel Brands said: "This  is not what we stand for at PSV. We feel ashamed and there is no place for that type of behaviour.

"We will consult the organisations involved to discuss how we can enforce stadium bans better, hopefully through reporting obligations. All PSV supporter organisations, who cheered on their team last night, unanimously and explicitly distance themselves from this disgraceful pitch invasion."

PSV said they would "await the investigations into the pitch invader made by the police and look to recover any financial damages".

Sevilla have been drawn to face Turkish Super Lig outfit Fenerbahce in the last-16 stage.

Six-time champions Sevilla are looking to extend their record haul in the competition, which began in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup, having last lifted the trophy in 2020 against Inter.

Manchester United have been drawn to face Real Betis in the Europa League's round of 16, while Arsenal will battle Sporting CP for a quarter-final spot.

United came from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory over Barcelona at Old Trafford on Thursday, and their reward for a 4-3 aggregate triumph over the Blaugrana is a tie against another Spanish opponent.

Having not lifted any silverware since winning this competition in 2017, United are in the hunt for four trophies this term, though Erik ten Hag's men will be tested by a side sat fifth in LaLiga.

Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini has faced United on four previous occasions in European competitions, with all four games finishing goalless during his time with Villarreal (in the 2005-06 and 2008-09 Champions League group stages).

Premier League leaders Arsenal will face Sporting after Ruben Amorim's team thrashed Midtjylland 5-1 on aggregate in the knockout round play-offs.

Sporting have progressed from each of their previous six ties against English teams in the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup/Europa League, with all six coming against different teams.

The other standout last-16 ties see Juventus meet Freiburg, while Jose Mourinho's Roma will take on Real Sociedad as they bid to follow up last season's inaugural Europa Conference League triumph.  

Feyenoord, who Roma beat in the final of that competition, have been paired with Shakhtar Donetsk, while surprise Bundesliga challengers Union Berlin will face Belgium's Union Saint-Gilloise.

Six-time winners Sevilla – the most successful club in UEFA Cup/Europa League history – will face Fenerbahce, while Bayer Leverkusen will take on Ferencvaros. 

The first legs of the last-16 ties will take place on March 9, with the group-stage winners hosting the return fixtures one week later. 

Europa League last-16 draw in full

Bayer Leverkusen v Ferencvaros
Juventus v Freiburg
Manchester United v Real Betis
Roma v Real Sociedad
Sevilla v Fenerbahce
Shakhtar Donetsk v Feyenoord
Sporting CP v Arsenal
Union Berlin v Union Saint-Gilloise

Erik ten Hag encouraged Manchester United to exude greater belief and courage prior to their inspired turnaround against Barcelona at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils came from behind to secure a dramatic 4-3 victory over the runaway LaLiga leaders on aggregate and book their place in the last 16 of the competition.

United endured a difficult first half as they fell behind to Robert Lewandowski's penalty and registered just two shots on target, while they could have trailed 2-0 on the night had Casemiro not thwarted Sergi Roberto and Franck Kessie on the stroke of half-time. 

Ten Hag made a substitute at the break for a second successive match, having also done so against Leicester City on Sunday, introducing Antony in favour of Wout Weghorst.

It proved an inspired move as the hosts appeared invigorated upon the contest's resumption. Fred levelled the tie, before Antony struck the winner 17 minutes from time.

"I emphasised the belief. It was too flat [in the] first half," Ten Hag told reporters his post-match press conference. "We had our spare man Casemiro [who] we didn't use enough. Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a lot of space on the right side, we didn't use [him] enough.

"I think in the pressing, we could be more brave. So, that is what we emphasised. The second was to make the sub with Antony, who brought more speed in the play and who brings belief on the pitch.

"In the squad, you need different types and profiles and when your time is there, you have to be ready and contribute with the team. You can't win trophies with 11 [players], especially not nowadays. You need that squad and rotation.

"This is another step because when you can beat Barcelona – one of the best teams in this moment in Europe – your belief can be really strong, because then I think you are able to beat anyone.

"It was a magnificent night. I think it is brilliant when you can beat Barcelona – eight points ahead of Real Madrid in LaLiga – and we have seen this week Real Madrid playing [in their 5-2 win [over Liverpool]. We did a magnificent performance."

Erik ten Hag saluted his "resilient" Manchester United side following their dramatic comeback victory over Barcelona in the Europa League.

Following a pulsating 2-2 draw at Camp Nou last week, the Red Devils fell behind on aggregate to Robert Lewandowski's first-half penalty at Old Trafford.

But Ten Hag's side turned the tie on its head after the break with goals from Fred and substitute Antony sending the hosts through to the last 16 of the competition.

It also marked the first time since defeat by Granada in April 2021 that the Blaugrana had lost having led at half-time.

When asked if this was his biggest win since taking charge, the Dutchman told BT Sport: "Yes, I think so. We've had some good wins – Liverpool, Arsenal at home. Barcelona is the leader of LaLiga, eight points ahead of Real Madrid. To beat them, it's a big win.

"I think we have some great personalities in the team, like Rapha [Varane] and Licha [Lisandro Martinez], they don't fear anyone. Even when you get setbacks, they move on, they carry on, and they are resilient. They want to get a result.

"Even when you concede a penalty, you have to go on; you can turn around such games. When you win a big game like this – after [being] 1-0 down and a difficult situation – I think this is a good bit of motivation in the season."

Following Antony's winner, United have now had 19 goals scored by substitutes in all competitions this season, the most by any side from the big five European leagues.

Alejandro Garnacho also looked dangerous following his introduction, his blocked effort leading to the decisive strike, and Ten Hag hailed the impact of both players.

"We know if we can bring Antony and Garnacho on and get over in the right areas, you get speed, you get running behind, you get dribbles, and you get belief," the manager added.

"They are both so brave; they don't fear anyone. They just take players on, and I think that gives a boost to the whole team."

On Fred, who levelled the tie, he said: "What he does really well is make the runs behind in the right moment, he has good timing. Getting behind the Barcelona midfielders was part of our game plan. I think it was really effective."

Sergio Busquets acknowledged Barcelona are "angry" after their Europa League exit to Manchester United, but insists it will not affect their domestic form.

Xavi's side saw their European exploits come to an end for the season after they let a one-goal lead slip at Old Trafford in a 2-1 loss to the Premier League side.

With Erik ten Hag's men taking a 4-3 aggregate victory across both legs, it marks another disappointing to end to a continental campaign for the Blaugrana.

Barca remain top of LaLiga and in the hunt for Copa del Rey success though, and while Busquets touched on the sting of defeat, he was adamant they will be fine.

"In terms of spirit, it does take its toll," he told Movistar+. "We are angry, but the team is aware of where that comes from.

"We are good in the league, but in Europe, we lack that little point. We must aspire to win everything. We are on the right path, and I'm sure [this] won't take its toll on the team."

Defeat in the Europa League marked a second exit from a continental competition this season, with Barca having dropped into the second-tier competition from the Champions League.

In a group that also included Bayern Munich and Inter, they only managed a pair of wins over Viktoria Plzen, but Busquets shut down suggestions this latest result represents a similar failure.

"They have been different eliminations," he added. "In the Champions League, a lot of things happened that were incredible. We weren't good in some games.

"Today is different. This was a tie against one of the best teams in the Premier League. Defeat could happen."

Xavi felt Barcelona "deserved more" from Thursday's defeat at Manchester United after Antony's 73rd-minute strike dumped his team out of the Europa League at Old Trafford.

Following a thrilling 2-2 draw at Camp Nou last week, Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty after Bruno Fernandes hauled down Alejandro Balde to put Barca ahead at half-time of the second leg.

But Fred equalised shortly after the interval, and Antony struck with less than 20 minutes to play to send United through 4-3 on aggregate and knock Xavi's side out of the competition.

It was Barca's first defeat against the Red Devils since 2008, and the first time in 38 matches in all competitions that they had lost a game after leading at half-time.

Xavi believes his players' efforts at Old Trafford warranted more than they received, telling Movistar+ after the match: "In such evenly matched knockout matches, details are important. I think we deserved something more.

"The goal to make it 1-1 hurt us. We lost a ball and they equalised. They put more intensity and we lost more duels in the second half. 

"It has been an even tie. There have even been moments in which we have been very comfortable.

"This is a big disappointment but we have to focus on the competitions we have left. We had a great rival in front of us."

Despite Barca having now been knocked out of both the Europa League and Champions League this season, Xavi says this season's continental efforts have been an improvement on last campaign, when they were again knocked out of Europe's premier competition before succumbing to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final eight.

"We have been better than last year," Xavi explained. "The message is a bit like when they eliminated us in the Champions League. This year we have competed against Bayern [Munich], against Inter.

"We have been better. We have competed in this tie.

"You have to be very self-critical and think about what needs to be improved. We may not be satisfied, but there has been an exponential change compared to last year.

"Next year we have to improve. They are big teams and it is hard to compete. Next year we will come back stronger."

Asked whether new signings are needed for Barca to compete at the top level again, Xavi replied: "Soon we'll see if we can sign [players]. What is clear is that we haven't competed for two years."

Bruno Fernandes put Manchester United's 2-1 comeback win over Barcelona down to a "bouncing" Old Trafford on Thursday.

The hosts went behind in the first half after the Portuguese midfielder conceded a penalty for a tug on Alejandro Balde, with Robert Lewandowski converting for Barca.

But goals from Fred and Antony after the break saw United turn matters around to seal a 4-3 aggregate victory and secure a place in the draw for the last 16.

Erik ten Hag's side were backed by a noisy Old Trafford throughout, and Fernandes was quick to pay tribute to the fans' contribution afterwards.

"The belief in the team is always there," he told BT Sport. "The belief from the fans, for us, is amazing. They [have] pushed us through difficult moments this season.

"They've been with us in the toughest moments. This season, we have been good, really good. This is something different, between them and us.

"We have something special, because they can see we are doing all we can to win games for them. Old Trafford was bouncing, that's why we got the result."

For United, there is limited time to dwell on such a momentous result – their first win over Barcelona since April 2008 – as they turn focus towards Sunday's EFL Cup final against Newcastle United.

With a chance to end the club's six-year silverware drought this weekend, fellow midfielder Fred acknowledges they must refocus quickly to stay on track.

"[It was a] good game today," he added. "[But] we need to keep going. We have a final on Sunday. We need to change our mind [ahead] of the final."

Antony was the hero as Manchester United progressed to the Europa League last 16 thanks to a 2-1 win over Barcelona at Old Trafford that secured a 4-3 aggregate success.

Robert Lewandowski put the Blaugrana ahead with an 18th-minute penalty following a pulsating 2-2 draw at Camp Nou last week.

But Fred equalised early in the second half, before substitute Antony completed the turnaround for Erik ten Hag’s side 17 minutes from time.

The Red Devils held on for their first victory over Barca since the narrow 1-0 win in the Champions League semi-final second leg in April 2008.

Casemiro released Bruno Fernandes in the third minute for the latter to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen during a bright start for United. 

But having almost been the hero at one end, Fernandes became the villain at the other when he hauled down Alejandro Balde in the penalty area, Lewandowski converting the subsequent spot-kick despite David de Gea's best efforts.

The United goalkeeper almost gifted Barca a second before half-time, his loose pass intercepted by Sergi Roberto, but Casemiro made vital blocks to deny him and Franck Kessie.

The hosts capitalised on their good fortune within two minutes of the restart, Fernandes feeding Fred, who drilled a low shot beyond Ter Stegen's dive.

United carried the greater threat but were almost caught by a sucker punch, with De Gea showcasing wonderful reflexes to tip away Jules Kounde's header.

Nevertheless, Ten Hag's side deservedly completed the comeback.

The ball ricocheted to Antony, who neatly guided into the bottom-left corner, and a late Raphael Varane block to deny Lewandowski ensured the Brazilian's strike was decisive.

Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic warned he knows how to defend himself after he was involved in an altercation with a fan during their Europa League loss to PSV.

The shot-stopper clashed with a supporter who rushed him on the field during the closing stages of their 2-0 defeat at Philips Stadion, pinning him until security could intervene.

Though Sevilla fell to defeat on the road after goals from Luuk de Jong and Fabio Silva, their three-goal advantage from the first leg saw them seal progress to the next round.

Speaking afterwards, Dmitrovic expounded upon the incident, stating such violence has no place in football and calling for punishment to be handed out to the individual in question.

"He pushed me from behind and tried to hit me," he told Movistar+. "He caught my nose and neck a little.

"The truth is that I wanted to hit him. If you want to hit someone, you sign up for a sport like boxing.

"Football doesn't deserve these things. I hope they punish him. It was a surprise, because you are focused on the game.

"I've never struck anyone in my life, but I know how to defend myself. It's not good in football or in life. The important thing is we have progressed."

Stats Perform approached UEFA for comment following the incident, to which the governing body said they would wait for the referee's match report before addressing the situation.

Massimiliano Allegri hailed the impact of Angel Di Maria after the winger's hat-trick helped Juventus see off Nantes on Thursday to advance to the last 16 of the Europa League.

Di Maria put the Bianconeri in front with a stunning opener after just five minutes, before his inventive backheel was prevented from going in by the arm of Nicolas Pallois, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.

Di Maria thumped home the resulting penalty after Pallois was given his marching orders, and the Argentina international rounded off his hat-trick with a late header to cap a sublime display and send the Bianconeri through, becoming the first Juve player to score at least three goals in a European match since Filippo Inzaghi in 2000.

Allegri lauded the improvements Di Maria has made after an injury-hit start to life at Juventus following his move from Paris Saint-Germain.

"Angel is a world champion," Allegri told reporters after the match. "He increases the quality of this Juventus and we are all happy to have him.

"Having someone like him is important to the team. Now, he knows the team better and is physically better."

Allegri was delighted with his team's second-leg performance after a disappointing 1-1 draw in Turin left his team with a tricky test to progress at a raucous Stade de la Beaujoire.

They came through that test in style, and Allegri is setting his sights on winning the competition after one win in six Champions League group-stage matches saw Juve drop into the Europa League.

It could also be their only route to next season's Champions League, following a 15-point deduction in Serie A for financial breaches which sees them sitting seventh and playing catch-up for the European spots.

"Winning away from home is never easy, in Europe even more," Allegri said. "After the elimination in the Champions League, it seems that winning in Europe for Juve is a walk in the park, but it's not like that.

"Now seeing the [Serie A] standings, the Europa League seems like the only way to get to the Champions League.

"Barcelona, ​​Manchester United, Sevilla, Feyenoord, Arsenal, there are important teams [in the Europa League].

"Let's see who we get in the round of 16, if Roma also get through. We try to get to the final, but not just to get to the Champions League, but also to win a trophy."

An Angel Di Maria hat-trick fired Juventus into the Europa League round of 16 as they secured a 4-1 aggregate triumph over 10-man Nantes on Thursday.

A 1-1 draw in Turin meant Juve faced a tough task to progress at a loud Stade de la Beaujoire, but Di Maria's spectacular opener set them on the way to victory.

Nantes' task was made harder when Nicolas Pallois saw red for handling Di Maria's inventive goalbound flick, before the Juve winger slammed the resulting penalty into the top corner.

Di Maria capped his excellent display with a late header to seal Juve's progression, and Massimiliano Allegri's men await Friday's draw to find out who stands between them and the quarter-finals.

Nantes started brightly but found themselves behind after five minutes when Di Maria's stunning curler found the top left corner from outside the area.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts shortly after as Di Maria weaved into the box before backheeling towards goal, with the Argentina international's effort striking the arm of Pallois.

The referee awarded a penalty and sent the Nantes defender off, before Di Maria thumped home the spot-kick.

It should have been game over just before the break, but Filip Kostic could only drill off the post from a tight angle.

Di Maria nearly completed his hat-trick shortly after the restart, though Alban Lafont palmed away his attempt from range.

Di Maria did get his treble with 12 minutes to play though as his header from a tight angle squeezed just over the line to put Juve through to the next round in style.

A lot's been said and written about the various ways Erik ten Hag has changed Manchester United's trajectory since his appointment last April.

His signings have made an impact; he's started to build an identity; players appear to be improving; he's getting results on the pitch.

But beyond those areas, last week's 2-2 draw with Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Europa League felt like an example of how much Ten Hag has changed the attitude of the club already.

It was a significant departure from what most fans – of United or otherwise – have come to expect from away games in European knockout ties against the biggest clubs on the continent.

Unless you support say Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester City or even Barca, there's a degree of acceptance that your team is going to spend much of the game under pressure when you face one of Europe's behemoths away from home.

This won't be lost on United fans. Even before the departure of the peerless Alex Ferguson in 2013, they would often set up with a view to halting the opponent rather than outplaying them, hence the importance of hard-working players like Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher.

In more recent years, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's use of counter-attacking tactics brought mixed results. While they helped the shock 2019 Champions League elimination of Paris Saint-Germain in one of the competition's most remarkable comebacks ever, United were then comfortably seen off by Barca 4-0 on aggregate in the next round.

Jose Mourinho's United were similarly pragmatic even though they never really came up against that same standard of opposition in Europe. His only Champions League knockout tie in charge of United was against Sevilla, who knocked the Red Devils out in the round of 16.

Of course, appearing to display something of an inferiority complex away from home isn't anything new, and it's certainly not specific to European competition – United have produced many performances some might perceive to be "negative" domestically in the past 10 years or so.

Either way, the manner of their display at Camp Nou was undoubtedly a refreshing change of pace.

United were the more dangerous and more competent side for long stretches of the game. Sure, Barca had the majority of the ball, as you'd expect, but Ten Hag's men seemed to have more purpose and direction when they had it.

They managed 18 shots last week at Camp Nou. Since the start of the 2003-04 season, United have only had more attempts away from Old Trafford in a European knockout game four times – those occasions were against Schalke, LASK, Sevilla and Copenhagen.

It bears mentioning that Barca had the same amount of shots, so this wasn't about United being dominant per se, rather having the attitude, belief and mentality to go to Camp Nou and not just assume the role of the proverbial lamb to the slaughter.

When facing Barca, you accept they will have a greater share of the ball, and generally speaking that brings shots, chances. But United were able to hurt their hosts without needing to control possession.

Their shots were worth 2.2 expected goals (xG) to Barca's 1.1. In the time that this data is available (since 2013-14), United have only recorded more xG in European knockout games away from Old Trafford seven times.

Again, these opponents were sides like Granada, Anderlecht, LASK and Copenhagen. Granted, their 2.1 away to PSG in 2019 looks good on paper, but Marcus Rashford's crucial penalty obviously accounts for a massive chunk of that, and United only managed five shots on that occasion. It was smash and grab.

United's high xG at Camp Nou was partly linked to their high number of touches (32) in the Barca box. Opta data in this metric goes back as far as the 2006-07 season, and since then they have only had more touches in the opposition's area four times in European knockout games away from Old Trafford.

Those were recorded against Villarreal, Sevilla, Schalke and Copenhagen.

Of course, trying to determine which of United's opponents have been of a similar standard to this current Barca side is subjective. Similarly, it's fair to ask how good Xavi's team actually are. But you could argue that, in the time this metric has been recorded, United never had more than 19 touches in the area of opponents at the level of Barca when not at Old Trafford.

In the 2008 final against Chelsea, United had 19. Away to Real Madrid in February 2013, they had 17. At Camp Nou in April 2019, they managed 12. The only club of a comparable stature to Barca against whom the Red Devils have broken that 20-touch barrier was Milan in March 2021, but that Rossoneri side wasn't a particularly impressive team; this Barca side is currently eight points clear of the Real Madrid team that pulverised Liverpool at Anfield earlier this week.

While United were slightly disappointed not to beat Barca last week, it was still possibly their most impressive performance in Europe for well over a decade.

They were positive, purposeful and generally threatening. There was no sign of fear or intimidation.

There were few negative aspects of the performance, and so in a way it perfectly encapsulated Ten Hag's tenure so far. The Dutchman's United had already played well against – and beaten – good teams, but being the better side at Camp Nou against Barcelona is a bit different.

Four trophies are still technically up for grabs for United this term. While a quadruple is surely beyond them, another positive performance – and result – at Old Trafford on Thursday will be the biggest statement of ambition and progress yet for Ten Hag.

Massimiliano Allegri explained injuries were to be expected for Federico Chiesa this season and the issue that will keep him out this week is "nothing serious".

Chiesa will not play for Juventus against Nantes in the second leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off.

His absence is a blow having impressed in a first leg the Bianconeri dominated before drawing 1-1 in Turin.

Any lay-off for Chiesa is likely to cause concern given he missed almost a year with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

However, Allegri was able to reassure Juve supporters ahead of the match at Stade de la Beaujoire, suggesting such setbacks were natural after a major injury.

"Unfortunately, tomorrow we don't have him, but we knew this," Allegri said.

"When a player is 10 months without playing, he comes back and when he makes two games in a row, some issues can occur that are nothing serious but affect the possibility of having him available."

Juve would have hoped not to be playing in the Europa League, but Allegri still sees an opportunity to take a rare step.

In each of the previous three campaigns, the Serie A giants were beaten in their first knockout tie in the Champions League, meaning they are looking to end a long wait for a two-legged triumph.

"This year Juventus has an important goal," Allegri said. "It is to pass the first qualifying round, even if these are the 'sixteenth-finals', given that in the last three years we have always gone out in the first knockout round in the Champions League.

"Tomorrow is a final, a unique game, since away goals no longer count double. We know that tomorrow we play a game at [Nantes'] home, and we play for the passage through this round."

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