Long trip to Kazakhstan a concern for coach and players
Coach Xavi Llorens and captain Marta Unzué react to a UEFA Women's Champions League draw that won't be as easy as it might seem for FC Barcelona
The Barça women’s team are not altogether happy about being drawn to play BIIK-Kazygurt in the Champions League round of 16. Although they could have faced much tougher opponents, the long journey, the time difference and the fact that not even European champions FFC Frankfurt were able to win in Kazakhstan last year means that the October fixture is not likely to be as simple as it might look on paper.
Manager Xavi Llorens reflected those sentiments when he commented that “they are a trickier opponent than it might seem. Of course, our league is much stronger in comparison, but they have won every game with just four to go. And they’ll fill their ground to put pressure on us. They’re a strong team, very physical, and we have the Frankfurt game as an example. After four seasons playing in Europe, this is a game where we need to make our experience tell.”
Confident about return leg
Team captain Marta Unzué added that “they’re not an easy opponent and if last year’s champions could only draw at their ground, then there has to be a reason for that. The temperature, the journey, the time difference, it all adds up. In a Champions League game you have to be at 120%. We need to get a good result and try not to let in any goals over there. If we can get a goal in the first leg, then that will make the job at the Minestadi so much easier.”