RSC Anderlecht and Gent will play Bulgaria’s Ludogorets and Azerbaijan’s Qarabag respectively in the Conference League knock-out stages, according to the official draw made on Monday at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The two Belgian clubs will play their first leg away from home on 16 February, a week before the return leg at home on 23 February. Both clubs finished second in their group and were sure to face a team that finished third in their group in the Europa League.
Vladimir Smicer, a former Czech striker with Liverpool among others, helped carry out the draw in Nyon, and booked a duel with Ludogorets for Anderlecht. The Bulgarian club finished behind Betis and AS Roma in the Europa League, a competition in which they have already reached the last 16 in 2014 and the last 16 in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
The Buffalos – nickname for Gent – meanwhile, face a long trip to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to take on Qarabag, who are third in their Europa League group behind SC Freiburg and FC Nantes.
Last year, Qarabag were eliminated at the same stage of the competition by eventual semi-finalists Marseille.
The final of the Conference League, which was first won last season by AS Roma, will be held on 7 June 2023 at the Eden Arena in the Czech capital Prague.
In the Champions League, Club Brugge will face Benfica, while Union Saint-Gilloise will have to wait to hear who their adversaries will be in the Europa League, as another play-off will be played by teams who finished second in their group. Union booked their place in the Last 16 by finishing top of their group.