Uefa hope to confirm a venue for the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League knockout tie against Benfica by Thursday at the latest.
It was announced by the Gunners on Tuesday that, due to travel restrictions, the ‘home’ leg of their round of 32 tie with the Portuguese side would take place in Athens, at Olympiacos’ Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
However, the announcement has since been removed from the Arsenal website with parts of Greece – including Athens – placed in lockdown on Tuesday.
Uefa had already confirmed that the ‘away’ leg of the tie will take place at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on February 18 and European football’s governing body hope to have the second leg venue confirmed as early as Wednesday afternoon.
We can now confirm that the first Leg of our Europa League last-32 tie against Benfica will be played as below.
Both matches in the tie are being held at neutral venues due to the current COVID-19 regulations.
SL Benfica v Arsenal
Thursday, February 18
Kick-off: 8pm (UK time)
To be played at Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
Details regarding the second leg will be confirmed in due course.
*Uefa has stated that in the event of a draw over two legs, away goals will count double.
The tie in Greece was set to take place on February 25. However, with a lockdown of the Athens region being announced until February 28, a new venue must now be found.
Arsenal would have therefore had issues travelling to and from the country while still fulfilling their Premier League fixtures with the squad and staff having to isolate upon their return from Lisbon.