Europa League: Inter & Tottenham await fate, Celtic face potential Legia rematch

The draw for the Europa League will be on Friday at 13:00CET and some interesting encounters could be on the cards

Europa League favourites Inter, Fiorentina, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla are among the teams that will learn their fate during Friday’s draw for the group stages in Monaco, which can be followed live on Goal.

The 48 entrants are split into four seeding pots based on their club coefficients, with each of the 12 groups to contain one team from each tier.

No club can meet a side from their own association.

Apart from the aforementioned favourites, Celtic and Legia Warsaw will also be intrugued to find out their opponents for the group stages and both rivals could be paired with one another once more after previously locking horns in the Champions League qualifiers in what could be a mouthwatering encounter.

The Polish outfit recorded a 6-1 aggregate win over Celtic, yet were eventually eliminated after Uefa slapped them with a 3-0 loss by default in the second leg of the tie for fielding an ineligible player.

Other high-profile teams in the draw include PSV, Feyenoord, Wolfsburg, Borussia Monchenglabach, Everton, Torino, Saint-Etienne and Dinamo Moscow.

POT 1: Sevilla (ESP, holders), Inter (ITA), Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG), PSV (NED), Napoli (ITA), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), Villarreal (ESP), Fiorentina (ITA), Salzburg (AUT), Metalist Kharkiv (UKR), Lille (FRA), Copenhagen (DEN);

POT 2: Steaua Bucharest (ROU), Standard Liege (BEL), PAOK (GRE), Celtic (SCO), Besiktas (TUR), Wolfsburg (GER), Club Brugge (BEL), Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR), Trabzonspor (TUR), Panathinaikos (GRE), Sparta Prague (CZE), Borussia Monchengladbach (GER);

POT 3: Everton (ENG), Young Boys (SUI), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), Zurich (SUI), Estoril (POR), Legia Warsaw (POL), Partizan (SRB), Torino (ITA), Feyenoord (NED), Saint-Etienne (FRA), Guingamp (FRA), Rio Ave (POR);

POT 4: Dinamo Moscow (RUS), Krasnodar (RUS), Rijeka (CRO), Lokeren (BEL), Asteras Tripolis (GRE), Slovan Bratislava (SVK), Apollon Limassol FC (CYP), Qarabag (AZE), Helsinki (FIN), Astra Giurgiu (ROU), Dinamo Minsk (BLR), Aalborg (DEN).

Inter boss Mazzarri hails hat-trick hero Kovacic

The Croatian scored a sensational treble at San Siro, after going 54 appearances without netting for the Nerazzurri following his January 2013 arrival from Dinamo Zagreb

Inter boss paid tribute to Mateo Kovacic after the midfielder’s goal drought came to an end in spectacular fashion in Thursday’s Europa League win over Stjarnan.

The Croatia international struck a sensational hat-trick in a resounding 6-0 win at San Siro, as the Nerazzurri progressed to the group stage courtesy of an 9-0 aggregate win.

“Kovacic was rewarded for his perseverance,” Mazzarri told Sport Mediaset after watching the 20-year-old score for the first time since joining Inter from Dinamno Zagreb in January 2013.

“This lad is growing exactly the way we hoped, is becoming consistent and putting his talents to the service of the team.

“The game was pretty much over at 2-0, then it was almost like a friendly. Stjarnan lost intensity and courage. We started well and I was interested to see how we’d react with our heads and our legs.

“We never lowered our guard and that attitude must remain throughout the season.”

Dani Osvaldo also scored his first goal for the Nerazzurri, after joining on loan from Southampton this summer, while there was a double for Mauro Icardi.

Inter 6-0 Stjarnan: Kovacic hits hat-trick in San Siro slaughter

The Croatia international struck three times, Mauro Icardi bagged a double while Daniel Osvaldo netted his first goal for the Nerazzurri during a one-sided win

A hat-trick from Mateo Kovacic saw Inter cruise into the Europa League group stage with a 6-0 demolition of Stjarnan on Thursday.

Leading 3-0 from the first leg in Iceland last week, the Serie A giants were in complete command of the tie and the gulf in class was evident at San Siro as Inter advanced 9-0 on aggregate.

Youngster Kovacic opened his Inter account by scoring twice in five first-half minutes – the second a wonderful individual effort – as Inter built on their first-leg advantage in the opening period.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo also netted his first for the Milan club when he added a third two minutes after half-time and Kovacic completed his treble with an effort from distance.

Kovacic was replaced by Mauro Icardi shortly afterwards and the Argentinian added a brace himself to complete the rout.

The win will come as a welcome boost for Walter Mazzarri and his men ahead of their Serie A opener at Torino on Sunday.

Inter made a dominant start and came close to an opener in the 12th minute when Osvaldo headed Yuto Nagatomo’s left-wing delivery against the crossbar.

Osvaldo had another chance a minute later, but this time the Italy international was denied by a superb last-ditch block.

Inter eventually took the lead in the 28th minute when Kovacic pounced on a loose ball inside the area to prod home from six yards.

If his first was scrappy, Kovacic‘s second goal was anything but.

After evading two desperate challenges on a surging run towards goal, the Croat dinked an impudent finish over the onrushing Ingvar Jonsson in the 33rd minute.

Following his toils in the first half, Osvaldo got his reward at the start of the second with a fine glancing header from another pinpoint Nagatomo cross.

The Japan international was the creator again in the 51st minute, storming away down the left before finding Kovacic, who fired into the bottom right-hand corner from 18 yards to complete his treble.

Osvaldo broke clear in search of his second three minutes later, but this time he was denied by a sprawling Jonsson.

Icardi added further gloss to the scoreline in the 69th minute with a fine turn and shot that arrowed low inside the right-hand post.

The forward rounded off the scoring 10 minutes from time by holding off a challenge and lifting the ball over Jonsson, completing a dominant Inter performance.

Thohir confirms Inter pursuit of Lavezzi

The Indonesian has admitted that the Nerazzurri are interested in reuniting the winger with his former boss at Napoli, Walter Mazzarri

Inter president Erick Thohir has confirmed that Inter are hoping to sign Ezequiel Lavezzi before the close of the transfer window – but pointed out that negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain is never easy.

Nerazzurri boss Walter Mazzarri is reportedly keen to be reunited with the Argentina international, with whom he worked at Napoli.

Thohir has now admitted that he would like to bring the winger to San Siro but argued that Inter are still in good shape ahead of the new Serie A season.

“Let’s see,” the Indonesian told reporters on Thursday. “Negotiating with PSG is never easy.

“The market is not closed. We can still do something. But I’m convinced that we have a good squad capable of competing both in the Europa League and in Italy; the right mix of youngsters and veterans.”

Inter, who finished fifth in Serie A last season, kick off their 2014-15 campaign at Torino on Sunday.

Inter must prove they can beat anyone – Mazzarri

Despite holding a 3-0 lead from the first leg of their Europa League playoff, the Nerazzurri head coach has urged his players to send out a message to the continent on Thursday

Walter Mazzarri has urged his Inter side to be professional and send out a message in Thursday’s Europa League match with Stjarnan.

The Serie A side put one foot in the group stages after leaving Iceland with a 3-0 victory in last Wednesday’s play-off first leg.

However, head coach Mazzarri has told his team to put that result out of their minds at San Siro and play the game in the right manner against the lowest ranked side in the competition.

“I hope there will be a great atmosphere tomorrow that helps us get through,” Mazzarri said at the pre-match news conference.

“I’ve asked the players to forget the first-leg result, we need to focus on our target – making the group phase.

“They need to show everything that I’ve always tried to put across to the teams I’ve coached.

“You can’t achieve anything in modern football unless everyone pitches in and the boys believe in that approach.

“The first thing we want to prove is that we’re a team that fights and can be a match for anyone.”

Mazzarri also confirmed that he will make changes to his starting line-up with goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo and striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo set to start.

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