Europa League: Arsenal to face CSKA Moscow

Arsenal
Arsenal comfortably beat AC Milan on aggregate to reach the quarter-finals

Arsenal have been drawn against Russian side CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Gunners will host the first leg at Emirates Stadium on 5 April with the return game in Moscow a week later.

Spanish side Atletico Madrid, who are second in La Liga, face Sporting Lisbon of Portugal.

In the other ties Germany's RB Leipzig play Marseille from France, while Italian club Lazio face Salzburg of Austria.

Arsenal beat AC Milan 3-1 on Thursday, for a 5-1 aggregate win, to reach their first European quarter-final since 2010.

They are 12 points adrift of fourth place in the Premier League and winning the Europa League appears to be their best chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Tie played to a backdrop of tension

Political tensions between the UK and Russia have heightened after a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

The UK believes Russia is behind the poisoning, although Moscow denies this.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Office updated its advice for those visiting Russia, saying UK nationals in the country should be "aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment".

It said the British Embassy in Moscow was "not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia at this time" but recommended UK nationals "remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments".

The last encounter between Arsenal and CSKA - a Champions League group stage game in 2006 - was attended by the man suspected of the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

An inquiry into the poisoning of Litvinenko with polonium-210 revealed that the men met hours before the match at the Emirates and that traces of the radioactive substance were discovered at the ground.

Who are CSKA Moscow?

CSKA dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Manchester United and Swiss club Basel.

The team, which includes several Russia players, are third in the Russian Premier League.

Their star men include attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who in November kept his first Champions League clean sheet for more than 11 years - a run of 43 games.

On-loan Leicester City striker Ahmed Musa is also in the squad.

CSKA are one of only five teams Arsene Wenger has faced more than once as Arsenal boss and failed to win against. Fiorentina, PAOK Salonika, Paris St-Germain and Port Vale are the others.

Europa League draw

RB Leipzig v Marseille

Arsenal v CSKA Moscow

Atletico Madrid v Sporting Lisbon

Lazio v Red Bull Salzburg

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