Manchester United and Arsenal’s first leg matches in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League have been diverted to Italy as COVID-19 restrictions continue to plague travel across Europe.
While Arsenal will travel to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to face Benfica, Manchester United will take on Real Sociedad of Spain in their away match at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in Turin.
In a statement, UEFA said the two matches would go ahead as originally scheduled for February 18.
Meanwhile, Molde’s home match against Hoffenheim was also transferred to Villareal’s Estadio de la Ceramica.
The Manchester United match was moved to the home of Italian champions Juventus after the Spanish government extended a ban on flights from England, Brazil and South Africa to March 2 to curb the spread of a new variant of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are unable to fly to Lisbon as England have ruled out that only essential travel to and fro from Portugal is allowed.
Spain’s decision to extend the travel ban from England also forced Chelsea’s visit to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League to be diverted to Bucharest. The match is scheduled to be played on 23 February.
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