Europa League : Manchester United stroll into Round of 16
Manchester United cruised into the Europa League Round of 16 by securing a 4-0 aggregate victory over the French side St Etienne. They finished strong with a 3-0 win in the first leg home match last week. The lone goal in the second leg away match was scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Apart from United, Schalke and Russia's Krasnodar proceeded into the last 16.
The UEFA Europa League
UEFA Europa League as it has been known since the 2009-10 season, has evolved from the UEFA Cup whose forerunner was the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, founded in 1955 and ran till 1971. The competition has been organized by UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) since 1971-72. Ever since, most number of UEFA Cup/League trophies were won by Spain's Sevilla FC (2006,07,14,15,16).
How do teams qualify?
Europa League is the UEFA's second-tier competition for European clubs, after the Champions League. Europa League qualification can be secured through domestic League position, or by winning domestic cups. Further clubs that are knocked out of the qualifying rounds and group stages of UEFA Champions League (UCL) can also join Europa League at different stages. 48 teams make up the Group Stage.
Group Stage participants
The 48 Group Stage contestants include : 16 automatic qualifiers, 22 teams progressed from Europa League play-off round, and 10 losing teams from Champions League play-off round.
The 2016-17 season of Europa League began with draws for first and second qualifying rounds on 20 June 2016 and will conclude with the final on 24 May 2017, at Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden. 32 teams qualified from Group Stage - 24 teams from Group Stage (top 2 teams from 12 groups (A-L) of four each), and 8 third-placed teams from UCL Group Stage.
Round of 32 teams
Round of 32: Athletic Bilbao v APOEL; Legia Warsaw v Ajax; Anderlecht v Zenit St.Petersburg; Astra Giurgiu v Genk; Manchester United v St.Etienne; Villarreal v Roma; Ludogorets v Copenhagen; Celta Vigo v Shakhtar Donetsk; Olympiacos v Osmanlispor; Gent v Tottenham Hotspur; Rostov v Sparta Prague; Krasnodar v Fenerbahce; Borussia Monchengladbach v Fiorentina; AZ v Lyon; Hapoel Be'er Sheva v Besiktas; PAOK v Schalke.