Dubbed the “Conqueror of Europe” for its 2000 UEFA Cup victory, Galatasaray advanced to the Europa League Round of 16 late Thursday after a 0-0 draw with Lazio at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
Becoming the only group winner that joined the UEFA Europa League through the Pot 4, Galatasaray has shown impressive performance so far as the Lions have not conceded even a single goal in away matches.
To advance to the Round of 16, the Yellow-Reds defeated Lazio 1-0 at home and got a 0-0 draw with Olympique Marseille in a fiery away match. Defeating Locomotiv Moscow 1-0 at the Russian capital, the Istanbul giant got a 1-1 draw with the Russians at home.
The game that Galatasaray truly shined was the fifth match that was played against Olympique Marseille at the Lions’ nest, the Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex. Defeating the French heavyweights 4-2 with an impeccable performance, Galatasaray made it clear that it meant business.
Galatasaray has also become one of only two teams that have not conceded any goals in away matches in UEFA competitions this season, the other being Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, which Galatasaray defeated to win the UEFA Super Cup in 2000 with a golden goal scored by Mario Jardel.
Interesting aspects of Galatasaray’s successful European journey have been revealed on social media as well. It turns out that if the Lions can make it to the UEFA Europa League final that will be played at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in Spain’s Seville, the game will be the 100th European match of Galatasaray under the helm of its legendary coach Fatih Terim, who is inarguably the most successful coach in the history of Turkish football. Another interesting aspect is that the final will be played on May 18, which is the next day after the 22nd anniversary of Galatasaray’s UEFA Cup victory on May 17, 2000.
The team that Galatasaray will face in the Round of 16 will be determined through the draw that will be made on Feb. 25 at the House of European Football in Switzerland’s Nyon.
The draw will feature 16 teams, eight of which are group winners from the UEFA Europa League group stage like Galatasaray and the rest will be the winners from the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs.
Apart from Galatasaray, Serbia’s Crvena zvezda, Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, France’s Lyon, Monaco, Russia Spartak Moscow and England’s West Ham United have all qualified to the Round of 16 as group winners.