Soccer

AZ Alkmaar among Aston Villa’s opponents in Europa Conference League group stage

Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran, right, fired his side into an early lead against Hibernian at Villa Park on Thursday night (Joe Giddens/PA)
Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran, right, fired his side into an early lead against Hibernian at Villa Park on Thursday night (Joe Giddens/PA) Aston Villa’s Jhon Duran, right, fired his side into an early lead against Hibernian at Villa Park on Thursday night (Joe Giddens/PA)

Aston Villa have been drawn to face AZ Alkmaar, Legia Warsaw and Zrinjski in Group E of the Europa Conference League.

The Premier League club hosted their first European game in 13 years on Thursday night, sealing their place in the group-stage draw with an 8-0 aggregate win over Hibernian in their qualifying play-off.

Aberdeen, the only other British club in the group stage of European football’s third-tier competition, have been drawn in Group G alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, PAOK Athens and Helsinki.

The cinch Premiership side dropped into the Europa Conference League after losing to Swedish champions Hacken 5-3 on aggregate in their Europa League qualifier.

Villa’s Group E opponents Zrinjski are the first team from Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach the group stages of a UEFA club competition.

AZ lost out to West Ham 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals last season and finished fourth in the Dutch Eredivisie. Legia finished second in Poland’s top flight.

Aberdeen’s top-seeded Group G opponents Eintracht Frankfurt beat fellow Scottish side Rangers on penalties in the 2021-22 Europa League final.

The 32 teams who featured in the draw, which took place in Monaco after the Europa League group-stage draw, are comprised of the 22 winners in the ECL play-off round along with the 10 losers in the Europa League play-off round.

The clubs were seeded in four pots of eight teams, in accordance with UEFA’s club coefficient rankings. Villa were in pot two, Aberdeen in pot four.