Europa League not spared from virus chaos as Man Utd goes behind closed doors

Manchester United's last-16 Europa League fixture against LASK Linz will be played behind closed doors in Austria “following guidance from the Austrian government”.

LASK Linz's fixture against Manchester United is one of five Europa League fixtures to be played behind closed doors   -  Getty Images

Manchester United's Europa League last-16, first leg away to LASK Linz in Austria is one of five matches in the competition set to be played behind closed doors on Thursday as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with football on the continent.

United confirmed on Tuesday that the decision had been made “following guidance from the Austrian government”, with the Alpine country having recorded 182 cases of COVID-19 by Tuesday.

The news will be a disappointment to supporters of the Austrian club hoping to see its team spring a surprise against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's in-form side.

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United's 2-0 derby win over Manchester City on Sunday saw it extend its current unbeaten run to 10 games, with eight clean sheets in that time. It is now hoping to seize the initiative in this tie before a weekend trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Coached by the French former Bayern Munich and Crystal Palace defender Valerien Ismael, LASK is six points ahead of Salzburg at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga as it chases a first league title since 1965.

It lost to Club Brugge in Champions League qualifying this season. The Belgian club then lost to Solskjaer's side in the last round of the Europa League.

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