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Sport

Milan drawn away to Shamrock Rovers in Europa League qualifiers

FILE PHOTO: The AC Milan logo is pictured on a pennant in a soccer store in downtown Milan, Italy April 29, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

BERN (Reuters) - Seven-times European champions AC Milan will begin their Europa League campaign this season away to rank outsiders Shamrock Rovers following the draw on Monday for the second qualifying round.

Milan, who finished sixth in Serie A, are returning to European football after serving a one-year ban for breaching UEFA’s break-even Financial Fair Play rules, which resulted in them missing the Europa League last season.

Milan’s only previous meeting with an Irish side was in 1975 when they beat Athlone Town 3-0 on aggregate in the old UEFA Cup.

It is arguably the most glamorous tie for a League of Ireland team since Cork City faced Bayern Munich in the 1991-92 UEFA Cup, holding out for a 1-1 home draw before losing 2-0 in Germany.

According to the specialist website Transfermarkt, Shamrock’s squad has a combined transfer value of 1.95 million euros, compared with 393.2 million euros for Milan.

English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur were drawn away to Bulgaria’s Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg will visit Albania to play Kukes.

The 46 ties will be played over a single leg due to the difficulties of travelling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For the same reason, all matches will be played without spectators.

The games will be played on Sept. 17.

Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond

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