Arsenal’s Europa League Round of 32 first leg clash with Benfica will be played in Rome. The second like is likely to be played in Athens, according to Chris Wheatley of football.london.
The Gunners will be unable to travel to Portugal to play against Benfica due to the United Kingdom’s travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic. The North London side would have to isolate for a period of ten days after returning from Portugal which would be impossible due to their busy schedule.
As a result, it has been agreed by both clubs and UEFA that both legs will be played on neutral territory. The first leg will be played at AS Roma’s Stadio Olimpico on February 18th and Benfica will be the ‘home’ side.
The second leg is likely to be played at Olympiacos’ Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece on February 25 and Arsenal will be the ‘home’ side.
The Gunners do not have fond memories in the recent past at this stadium as they were dumped out of the Europa League at the same stage of the competition last season by the Greek side. They will be hoping to have a better outcome this time around.
UEFA have announced that the away goals rule will stand for the North London club’s Europa League clash with Benfica despite the fact that the games will be played on neutral territory.
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