Liverpool FC may be a club brimming with European pedigree, but the overriding feeling within the SC Braga camp was that the Portuguese outfit were well worth a place in their maiden continental quarter-finals at the Reds' expense.
Braga laid the groundwork for their UEFA Europa League round of 16 triumph with a 1-0 home win, but it was Thursday's impressive goalless draw at Anfield which completed the job. Domingos Paciência's side rode an early Andy Carroll-inspired storm to add Liverpool to a list of European scalps for the season which already included Celtic FC and Sevilla FC.
"Anybody who saw Braga play would admit we deserved to reach the quarter-finals," midfielder Hugo Viana told UEFA.com. "We won the home leg and then got a draw with a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
We knew this second leg was going to be very different, that's why it feels so good to be coming away from here with a deserved result. The squad is very happy; Braga have never reached the quarter-finals of European competition before."
Viana's coach echoed those sentiments, praising his side's ability to stifle what came their way. "It means a lot, we're very proud and we're going to keep working hard to go as far as possible," Paciência told UEFA.com. "In the first leg we took a lot more risks, we really went for it. In the second leg it was more about staying solid, being disciplined.
"We were very organised and made it difficult for Liverpool to break us down – we didn't let them play their game. This victory is down to the hard work and the discipline of the team.
It's very important in the history of Braga. After knocking out a team like Liverpool, there's no reason to think that we can't go a long way."
Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina was magnanimous upon the three-time UEFA Cup winners' exit, admitting that for all their huff and puff, they came up short. "
Credit to Braga – they were really brave, they played hard and made it very difficult for us," he said. "It was hard to break them down and they deserved to go through."
While the Premier League outfit must go back to the drawing board, Braga's Mossoró insists he and his team-mates will make the most of the moment. "We're going to savour this," he said. "It's a very important achievement, not just for us as players but for the club as a whole."
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.