Arsenal have confirmed that the ‘home’ leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Benfica will be played in Athens.
The Gunners are unable to play Benfica in Lisbon or London due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Portugal is on the UK’s ‘red list’, and as such Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal squad would have been forced to quarantine for 10 days had they travelled there for the match on February 18.
As a result, the first leg of the tie has been moved to Rome, Italy, and the second leg will take place in Athens, Greece.
There had been some doubt about the second leg, which is Arsenal’s home game, taking place in Athens as the city went into lockdown earlier this week.
UEFA, however, have now confirmed the match will be taking place there at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium – home of Olympiacos.
In a statement, UEFA said, “UEFA can confirm that the UEFA Europa League Round of 32-second leg match between Arsenal FC and SL Benfica will now take place at the Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis in Piraeus, Greece. The date of the match (25 February 2021) and kick-off time (18:55CET) will remain the same.
“UEFA would like to thank Arsenal FC and SL Benfica for their close cooperation and support, as well as the Hellenic Football Federation, Olympiacos FC, and the Greek Authorities for their assistance and agreeing to host the match in question.”
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