The Telegraph
Saturday , August 9 , 2014
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Arsenal vs Besiktas in play-off round

Nyon: Napoli, bidding to reach the Champions League group stage for the third time and the second in a row, were handed a daunting tie against Athletic Bilbao in the draw for the play-off round on Friday.

Arsenal, hoping to qualify for the 17th consecutive season, must face Turkey’s Besiktas and twice former champions Porto were also handed a difficult draw as they were paired against Lille, with the French club at home the first leg.

Rafael Benitez’s Napoli finished third in Serie A last season, only enough for a place in the play-off round after Italy slipped down the national coefficients which determine how many places each league gets in the tournament.

Bilbao, fourth in La Liga, were beaten Europa League finalists in 2012.

Arsenal also met Turkish opposition at the same stage last season when they beat Fenerbahce 5-0 on aggregate over two legs.

The first legs will be played on August 19-20 with the returns on August 26-27.

Scottish champions Celtic, reprieved after third qualifying round opponents Legia Warsaw fielded an ineligible player in their 6-1 aggregate win, will meet Slovenian champions Maribor. Malmo play Austrian champions Salzburg.

Play-off round

Maribor (Slo) vs Celtic (Sco); Salzburg (Aut) vs Malmo (Swe); AaB Aalborg (Den) vs APOEL Nicosia (Cyp); Steaua (Rom) vs Ludogorets (Hun); Slovan Bratislava (Svk) vs BATE (Blr); Besiktas (Tur) vs Arsenal (Eng); Standard Liege (Bel) vs Zenit (Rus); Copenhagen (Den) vs Bayer Leverkusen (Ger); Lille (Fra) vs Porto (Por); Napoli (Ita) vs Athletic Bilbao (Spa)

Matches on August 19-20 & 26-27