Eight teams progress to Round 3
The 2023/24 season of the EHF European Cup Women opened this weekend with as many as 23 matches, including eight double-headers as well as 10 first-leg encounters.
Eight teams have already secured their Round 3 spots: Neistin (FAR), SSD Handball Erice ARL (ITA), HK Slovan Duslo Vala (SVK), ATTICGO BM Elche (ESP), Jomi Salerno (ITA), HV Herzogenbuchsee (SUI), MKS IUVENTA Michalovce (SVK) and Armada Praxis Yalikavaspor (TUR)
- both Slovak sides won double-headers on home court: Slovan defeated Italian side Cassa Rurale Pontinia 64:60 on aggregate, while MKS IUVENTA Michalovce enjoyed a big advantage against Bosnia’s ZRK Borac, 81:32 on aggregate
- last season's semi-finalists ATTICGO BM Elche were even more dominant against their Bulgarian opponents HC Byala, as they won 97:30 on aggregate
- in contrast, Faroese team Neistin needed a post-match shootout to eliminate Cascada HC Garliava SM from Lithuania, 50:49 on aggregate
- Türkiye's Armada Praxis Yalikavaspor lost the first leg against ADA de Sao Pedro do Sul (POR) 27:23, but took a 28:22 revenge on Sunday
- while Pontinia were eliminated, two other Italian sides went through: Jomi Salerno proved too strong for Kur (AZE), and SSD Handball Erice ARL defeated H71 (FAR)
- 14 more double-headers as well as 10 second-leg matches are scheduled for next weekend, from 29 September to 1 October
Titleholders make big step towards progressing
Defending champions Konyaalti BSK from Turkey were seen as strong favorites in their tie against RK Hadzici, and the first-leg match in Bosnia only proved it. On Saturday, the Turkish side comfortably won 39:19, as left wing Ceylan Aydemir scored 11 goals, and goalkeeper Sevilay Imamoglu Öcal boasted a 61 per cent save rate.
So the second-leg game in Türkiye next Saturday looks like a mere formality, and hardly anything can prevent Konyaalti from reaching Round 3.