The UEFA Europa League Play-off draw took place earlier today, with Sporting CP and Rio Ave being the two Portuguese sides involved. The play-off is the FINAL qualifying stage in the Europa League and victory in this one-legged tie would see the side proceed into the group stages.
There are already two Portuguese sides who are qualified for the group stages, SL Benfica and SC Braga.
Both clubs have to play a 3rd qualifying round tie first, but should they overcome this hurdle, they each now know their potential opponents.
Rio Ave face a tough 3rd qualifying round game against Besiktas, their reward if they overcome the Turkish giants is an even more difficult potential fixture, the winner of AC Milan v FC Bodo/Glimt. A victory against Besiktas would be a fantastic achievement but a potential play-off with AC Milan would be a historic fixture, particularly in Mário Silva’s men won. A very tough draw overall but those Rio Ave players I’m sure will give it everything!
Sporting CP, who play Aberdeen in the next round of the Europa League, know that a victory would see them into the play-off round against the winner of LASK or FC Dac 1904. Should Rúben Amorim’s men get past the Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen, they will back themselves to get through the play-off round also, and into the Europa League group stages.