This photograph taken on August 26, 2022, shows the trophy during the draw for the UEFA Europa League football tournament group stage 2022-2023 in Istanbul. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)
Nantes winger Moses Simon alongside compatriot Omonoia goalkeeper Francis Uzoho have both been handed tricky groups in the UEFA Europa League which kicks off next month on September 8, 2022.
The 2022/23 Europa League group stage draw took place in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday with the final of the tournament slated for May 31, 2023.
Nantes will face Greek giants Olympiacos, Freiburg and Azerbaijani professional football club, Qarabağ FK in Group D.
Nantes qualified for the group stage of UEL after winning, the French cup in May while Uzoho’s Omonoia recorded an aggregate 4-0 win over Gent to see them through the play-offs into the group stage.
Simon who was instrumental in Nantes’ 2021/22 season will be gunning for his fourth trophy in Europe in the competition and will be pivotal to any success the team achieves in the competition.
Meanwhile, Uzoho is looking forward to his debut in the competition and building on his success in the 2021/22 season after Omonoia won the Cypriot cup on penalties in May.
Despite exit links, should Raphael Onyedika stay in Midtjylland, the Nigerian midfielder will take on Lazio, Feyenoord and Sturm Graz in Group F.
Manchester United were placed in the same group as Real Sociedad while Arsenal will come up against PSV Eindhoven.
United, who won the Europa League in 2017, will also meet Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus in Group E.
Sheriff, the club from the breakaway Russian-speaking region of Transnistria who have won seven straight Moldovan league titles, famously beat Real Madrid away in last season’s Champions League group stages.
Arsenal’s draw appears slightly tougher on paper, as they will also take on Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt and Swiss title holders FC Zurich in Group A.
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All three of the Gunners’ rivals failed to make it through the Champions League qualifying phase.
PSV, coached by Ruud van Nistelrooy, beat Monaco in the Champions League third qualifying round before losing to Rangers in the playoffs and dropping into the Europa League.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who won last season’s Europa Conference League, will face Spanish Copa del Rey winners Real Betis in Group C, as well as Bulgarian champions Ludogorets and Finnish champions HJK Helsinki.
Monaco will take on Red Star Belgrade, Ferencvaros and Turkish champions Trabzonspor in Group H.
Dynamo Kyiv, who lost to Benfica in the Champions League play-offs, will face Rennes, Fenerbahce and AEK Larnaca of Cyprus in Group B.
The group stage will begin on September 8 and concludes on November 3, earlier than usual due to the World Cup in Qatar.
The 2022/23 Europa League is the 52nd edition of the competition.
It is the 14th season since it was renamed from the UEFA Cup to the UEFA Europa League.
The final for this season will be played at the Puskás Aréna in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest was originally scheduled to host the final match for the 2021–22 UEFA Europa League, but several hosts were shifted because of the delay and ultimate relocation of the 2020 final due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The winners of the tournament will automatically qualify for the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage, and also earn the right to play against the winners of the UCL in the 2023 UEFA Super Cup.