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October 23, 2021

Europa League: Anderlecht and Ajax meet again

RSC Anderlecht and AFC Ajax have been paired together for the second time in as many seasons, with Belgium and the Netherlands` most successful clubs battling for a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16. The game will be hosted by Anderlecht on Thursday night.

The sides met for the first time in a competitive fixture in last season`s UEFA Europa League group stage. Their first meeting in Brussels ended in a 1-1 draw (in which the hosts` Jelle Van Damme was sent off), while Anderlecht won the return 3-1, albeit with Ajax already sure of qualifying for the knockout phase.
Elsewhere AC Sparta Praha will look to end a dire recent run of form against English opponents when they take on Liverpool FC in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, with the Reds – under manager Kenny Dalglish – visiting the Czech Republic for only the second time.

The two teams have yet to meet in european competition.

This will be Sparta`s 15th match against an English side. Their previous 14 produced the record W3 D2 L9 (W2 D1 L4 at home). They have not won – or scored a goal – in their last five home fixtures against English clubs since beating Watford FC 4-0 in a UEFA Cup tie on 7 December 1983. Current Sparta coach Jozef Chovanec scored the first goal in that game.

Liverpool`s only experience of Czech opposition came in the second round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup, when they beat FC Slovan Liberec 1-0 at Anfield and 3-2 away.

Other games in Europa League tonight: Rubin-Twente; Metalist-Leverkusen; Napoli-Villarreal; Lech-Braga; Besiktas-Dynamo Kyiv; Benfica-Stuttgart; Rangers-Sporting; Basel-Spartak Moskva; Young Boys-Zenit; Sevilla-Porto; Lille-PSV; PAOK-CSKA Moskva.

In the first game of the round, on Tuesday, neither Aris Thessaloniki FC and Manchester City FC were able to take a significant stride towards the UEFA Europa League round of 16 as the first leg of their last-32 tie finished 0-0.

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