Spanish, Italian matchups in 3rd round of Europa League affected by Russia-Ukraine issues



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NYON, Switzerland — All-Spanish and all-Italian matches headed the third-round draw in a Europa League increasingly affected by political tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Defending champion Sevilla will play Villarreal, and Fiorentina faces Roma. Everton and American goalkeeper Tim Howard play Dynamo Kiev in the final 16. The winner of this year's tournament qualifies for next season's Champions League.

European soccer's governing body kept Russian and Ukrainian clubs apart for political reasons, Zenit St. Petersburg was drawn against Torino, one of five Italian clubs remaining. Inter Milan plays Wolfsburg and Napoli faces Dynamo Moscow.

The first legs are March 12 and the second legs of the total-goals series March 19.

There was crowd trouble and a stoppage in play during Dynamo's win over France's Guingamp on Thursday. Dynamo director general Revaz Chokhonelidze said a banner was shown in the tiny contingent of visiting supporters which turned a French tricolor on its side to resemble a Russian flag. It carried a slogan referring to the Crimea region of Ukraine, which Russia annexed last year.

Chokhonelidze said the incident was a "provocation" to home fans, whose reaction will likely lead to sanctions from the Union of European Football Associations.

"Our supporters are very educated, but when 20 (people) from Brittany show off a Russian flag, it is not good," Chokhonelidze told The Associated Press. "Kiev is a quiet city. There is no fighting. For Dynamo, it is good to play football."

Because UEFA decided last July that national and club teams from Russia and Ukraine should not meet, Friday's draw also produced matchups of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk vs. Ajax, and Napoli vs. Dynamo Moscow. The competition could yet bring teams from the two countries together for the final in Warsaw on May 27.


AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.

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