United finished sixth in the Premier League last season, meaning they missed out on Champions League football this season and were entered into Friday’s draw with Arsenal, who return to European competition after a year’s absence.
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This year’s competition will see Cristiano Ronaldo make his first appearance in Europe’s second-tier club competition since 2002, when he played for Sporting Lisbon versus Partizan Belgrade at 17 years old.
The Sheriff will be looking to repeat his giant-slaying heroics against United this season, with the Moldovan club securing an unlikely 2-1 away win against real Madrid in the Champions League last season. Group E will also see a return to Manchester for the midfielder David Silvawho joined Sociedad in 2020 after a hugely successful decade at Manchester City.
The draw means Van Nistelrooy will return to face Arsenal after enjoying a fierce rivalry during his five years as a player at United, culminating in when he missed a penalty against Arsenal in 2003, an event important in North London. club’s “Invincible” season.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho will face Manuel Pellegrini again when Conference League winners Roma take on Real Betis in Group C. Mourinho infamously replaced Pellegrini at Madrid in 2010, and the pair have faced each other ever since, both in La Liga and when Mourinho chelsea propelled Pellegrini’s Manchester City to the Premier League title in 2015.
This season’s Europa League group stages will run from September 8 to November 3, ending weeks before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Round of 16 kicks off on February 16, 2023, with the final set to be held at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary on May 31, 2023.
GROUP A: Arsenal (England), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Bodo/Glimt (Norway), FC Zurich (Switzerland).
GROUP B: Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Rennes (France), Fenerbahce (Turkey), AEK Larnaca (Cyprus).
GROUP C: AS Roma (Italy), Ludogorets (Bulgaria), Real Betis (Spain), HJK Helsinki (Finland).
GROUP D: SC Braga (Portugal), Malmö (Sweden), Union Berlin (Germany), St Gilloise (Belgium)
GROUP E: Manchester United (England), Real Sociedad (Spain), Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova), Omonia (Cyprus).
GROUP F: Lazio (Italy), Feyenoord (Netherlands), Midtjylland (Denmark), Sturm Graz (Austria).
GROUP G: Olympiakos (Greece), Qarabag (Azerbaijan), SC Freiburg (Germany), Nantes (France).
GROUP H: Red Star Belgrade (Serbia), AS Monaco (France), Ferencvaros (Hungary), Trabzonspor (Turkey).