Sporting Clube de Portugal were paired with SK Rapid Wien in today's draw for the first round of the UEFA Cup, a competition which concludes at the Lisbon side's Estádio José Alvalade on 18 May 2005.
Sporting, who lifted the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1963/64, were joined in the draw by their city rivals SL Benfica, one of 16 teams involved after losing in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. The two-time European champions will play Slovakian side FK Dukla Banská Bystrica, while fellow Portuguese challengers CS Marítimo face a difficult tie against Rangers FC, CD National take on Sevilla FC in an Iberian derby, and SC Braga meet Heart of Midlothian FC from the Scottish capital.
Feyenoord, the only club in the draw to have been the champions of Europe and won the UEFA Cup, will tackle Odd Grenland, while the two remaining European Champion Clubs' Cup winners, FK Crvena Zvezda and FC Steaua Bucuresti, are respectively pitted against Russian high-flyers FC Zenit St. Peterburg and PFC CSKA Sofia.
Shelbourne FC, who gave RC Deportivo La Coruña a scare in Champions League qualifying, come up against Lille OSC, one of three UEFA Intertoto Cup winners among the 80 teams in the hat. The others, FC Schalke 04 and Villarreal CF, face ties against Latvia's FHK Liepajas Metalurgs and Hammarby.
The top seeds, S.S. Lazio, will play FC Metalurh Donetsk of Ukraine. Another club from Serie A, Parma FC, confront Slovenian champions NK Maribor, Udinese Calcio were drawn against Panionios NFC and Spanish Cup winners Real Zaragoza play SK Sigma Olomouc of the Czech Republic.
Tough for Newcastle
Israeli Cup winners Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin FC, the first Arab team to participate in European competition, are rewarded with a tie against a Newcastle United FC side featuring the likes of Alan Shearer and Patrick Kluivert. England's FA Cup runners-up, Millwall FC, have a difficult introduction to UEFA Cup football against Ferencvárosi TC. The Hungarian club won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968, a season before Newcastle. English League Cup winners Middlesbrough FC tackle Czech champions FC Baník Ostrava.
Other intriguing ties include Trabzonspor against Athletic Club Bilbao, FK Partizan versus FC Dinamo Bucuresti, R. Standard de Liège against VfL Bochum 1848, and French second division side LB Châteauroux against seasoned campaigners Club Brugge KV. Any tie reversals or changes of date will be announced this afternoon. Matches in the first round are due to be played on 16 and 30 September, unless otherwise stated.
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