Football/Soccer

Chelsea and Spurs handed tough tasks in Champions League last 16 draw

Chelsea and Barcelona have plenty of Champions League history - and will meet again in the last 16.

CHELSEA were handed the toughest test in the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League as they were paired with five-times European champions Barcelona.

Having finished second in their group behind Roma, Antonio Conte's men were hoping for a potential tie against Besiktas but instead came out against Lionel Messi's band of superstars.

Tottenham were also handed a questionable reward for finishing ahead of Real Madrid in their qualifying group as they were paired with last year's runners-up Juventus.

But Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will be relatively content after being paired with Basel, Sevilla and Porto respectively.

The remaining three ties pit Real Madrid against Paris St Germain, Shakhtar Donetsk with Roma, and Bayern Munich against Besiktas.

In the Europa League draw Celtic came out against Russian side Zenit St Peterburg, while Arsenal will face Swedish outfit Ostersund and their English manager Graham Potter in the last 32.

Arsene Wenger's men have been paired with the club that former York defender Potter has taken from the fourth division to the top-ranked Allsvenskan in six years.

The 42-year-old has earned comparisons with Roy Hodgson - who himself managed in Scandinavia in his formative years - and this will be his first clash against English opposition.

The Champions League draw is not what Chelsea wanted after Conte conceded that the defence of their Premier League crown was over after this weekend's defeat to West Ham.

But he will hope to invoke the memory of their remarkable win over the Catalan giants in 2012, when a late goal from Ramires saw them reach the Champions League final on away goals despite the earlier dismissal of John Terry.

Spurs meanwhile can expect to face a sterner test than that posed by Juventus in their last meeting in a pre-season friendly at Wembley in May, which the north Londoners won 2-0.

City will be delighted to land Swiss outsiders Basel. But they will have good cause to be wary against their experienced opposition, who beat both Manchester United and Benfica on their way to qualifying as runners-up from Group A.

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