‘İzmir’s Girls’ make it to round of 16 in Women's Champions League
Konak Belediyespor will now have to face Neulengbach of Austria in the UEFA Women’s Champions League's round of 16. The first game will be played in İzmir on Nov. 9 or Nov. 10. AA photoThe Konak Belediyespor women’s football team, dubbed “İzmir’s Girls,” held Unia Raciborz of Poland to a goalless draw on Oct. 17 in the return leg of an UEFA Women’s Champions League game, advancing to the round of 16 2-1 on aggregate.
Unia Raciborz made use of its home advantage and dominated the game, but its strikers were unable to get past Konak goalkeeper Fatma Şahin, who made seven saves to help her side advance.
Konak Belediyespor will play Neulengbach of Austria in the round of 16, which beat Apollon of Greek Cyprus 3-2 on aggregate. The first game will be played in İzmir on Nov. 9 or 10, while the return leg is scheduled for four days later in Austria.
Konak Mayor Hakan Tartan said that the victory represented a lot for İzmir, a city which has been long absent from elite men’s football as historic clubs such as Karşıyaka, Göztepe and Altay struggle in lower tiers.
“This is not only a sporting success but the awakening of a city to sports,” Tartan told Hürriyet after the game. “This is a bigger achievement than Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş managed to have during the last years. From now on, I expect everyone to give a hand to these girls and support them,” he said.
Konak, which dominated the domestic league by only dropping three points last season, had already made history by becoming the first Turkish women’s team to qualify from the group stages of the tournament when the team saw off challenges from WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo, FC NSA Sofia and FC Cardiff.