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Sporting will have to play on Tuesday or Wednesday in the Europa League

Sporting will have to play on Tuesday or Wednesday in the Europa League

According to UEFA regulations, teams coming through the qualifiers, such as Benfica and Sporting, must play the first leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League at home. Therefore, the two opponents will not be able to play on March 7, that is, a Thursday, as regulations prevent the same city from hosting two matches on the same day in European competitions.

According to a note published on UEFA's official website, Benfica has priority over Sporting “after winning the national championship”, meaning the Lions will have to play early. Also according to UEFA, Sporting will play the first leg of their round of 16 at home, “on Tuesday 5 March, at 5.45pm”, which could pose an issue with the calendar, as it is on the weekend of 2 and 3 March. Next month, the Leonine team will face Farense, in the 24th round of the league, immediately after El Clásico with Benfica, in the first leg of the Portuguese Cup semi-final, which will be held on February 29, next Thursday. On the weekend of March 9 and 10, Sporting will play Arouca away in the league. Moreover, Ruben Amorim's side still has a game to play against Famaliço, who also have a chance to win the tournament.

However, as JN knows, there is still a chance that Sporting will play the first leg of the round of 16 on Wednesday, March 6, if the police ensure conditions are in place and a strong security system is formed in the city of Lisbon. Fans of two foreign teams are able to mingle in the same space. This is because Benfica will also play at home the next day and at the same stage of the competition. Naturally, the opponents of the two Portuguese teams will also have an influence on this decision, if they are clubs with less problematic fans.

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The opponents of the two Portuguese teams in the competition will be known on Friday, at 11 am, and they are Atalanta, Brighton, Bayer Leverkusen, Liverpool, Rangers, Slavia Braga, Villarreal or West Ham.