United face French test in Europa League

Saint-Etienne will be Manchester United’s opponents in the Europa League’s round of 32. 

The draw on Monday paired the Reds with the French club for the first time since the sides met in the 1977/78 European Cup Winners’ Cup. United progressed 3-1 on aggregate after playing the second leg at a neutral venue, Plymouth’s Home Park, following crowd trouble in France for the away match.

Paul Pogba’s older brother Florentin currently plays for Saint-Etienne; Les Verts are eighth in the Ligue 1 table after 17 matches, 15 points behind the leaders Nice.

Jose Mourinho’s men finished in second spot in Group A behind Fenerbahce so were not seeded, meaning the home tie at Old Trafford comes first on Thursday 16 February with the second leg in the following week. However, fans are advised not to book travel or accommodation until the exact dates and kick-off times are confirmed by UEFA.

The UEFA Cup, to use the Europa League’s former name, is the one trophy that United have never won. Victory in the final at the Friends Arena in Stockholm next May guarantees the winners a place in the 2017/18 Champions League .

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