European duels

It is often maintained that the friendly relationship between England and Portugal, stretching back over the centuries, constitutes the oldest alliance in the world.

These sentiments will disappear on the football pitch, however, following the draws for the knock-out Champions and Europa League phases.

In the former Porto, 1-0 weekend losers to Benfica in the domestic game, will meet Arsenal for the third time in four years while Luis Figo’s AC Milan pulled Manchester United out of the hat. Fond memories will also be harboured by José Mourinho, who will be returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time to face former club Chelsea at the helm of Inter Milan.

In the re-named UEFA Cup Europa League Everton, chastised by Benfica during the earlier group matches, must now attempt to to do better against Sporting Lisbon while their previous conquerors take on Germany’s Hertha Berlin, earlier runners up in Sporting’s group.

Elsewhere, Champions League drop-outs Liverpool contend with Romanians Unirea while Fulham travel even further east to Shakhtar in the Ukraine.

The first legs will get under way on March 11 while the Champions League already resumes on February 16 and 17.