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West Ham draw Anderlecht, Hearts to play Fiorentina in Conference League

West Ham United were placed in the same group as Anderlecht in the draw for this season’s Europa Conference League on Friday, while Hearts can look forward to a glamour tie against Serie A side Fiorentina.

West Ham will also face Romanian outfit FCSB — formerly known as Steaua Bucharest — as well as Silkeborg of Denmark in Group B.

David Moyes’s side have already faced Danish opposition in this season’s competition, having defeated Viborg 6-1 on aggregate in the play-off round, but it is a tie against the Belgians of Anderlecht that appears the most attractive.

It is also a repeat of the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup final, which Anderlecht won 4-2 in Brussels. 

The Premier League side reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season before losing to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hearts are in the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2004/05 and have been handed a tough draw, with Istanbul Basaksehir also in Group A along with Latvian champions RFS.

Robbie Neilson’s ‘Jam Tarts’ lost to Swiss champions FC Zurich in the play-off round of the Europa League.

Shamrock Rovers of the Republic of Ireland, who started out in the Champions League qualifying rounds, will face Gent of Belgium, Molde of Norway and Djurgardens of Sweden in Group F.

Villarreal, Champions League semi-finalists last season, and ambitious French club Nice are among the highest profile sides involved in the group phase of the recently-introduced third-tier European competition.

Also involved are Ballkani, the champions of Kosovo, and FC Vaduz, who come from Liechtenstein but play in the Swiss second division and qualified for Europe by virtue of winning their national Cup.

The Conference League final will be played in Prague on June 7 next year.

Roma won last season’s inaugural edition, defeating Feyenoord in Tirana.

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