Winger Renato Reis was "not that happy" with the way Braga played on their 2010/11 UEFA Regions' Cup finals debut, but a 3-1 win against Zlín Region was more than adequate consolation.
A good crowd helped cheer Dito's side on to success at the Primeiro de Maio Stadium, with Renato Reis setting up Diogo Leite for his side's second goal and justifying professional club GD Aves' decision to sign him for next season on the eve of the tournament for fear of being gazumped by the legions of scouts who were out in force on Tuesday.
"It was important to start the tournament with a win, especially because that will take some pressure off our shoulders, and now we can just focus on improving our game and get more positive results," said Renato Reis, who will give up his studies to turn professional at the end of the summer.
That pressure to perform looked like it might tell in the opening stages of Tuesday's game, with Renato Reis as concerned as his coach that Braga failed to find "their normal level" of play. "I'm not that happy with the way we played," admitted the one-time Gil Vicente FC youngster.
"It was all a bit clumsy in the first half. We expected to have more possession and we struggled a bit to find our form. Nevertheless, we won and we will try to improve for our next game."
An admirer of Portugal stars Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo, Renato Reis knows he has a long road ahead of him if he is to reach the top of the European game, but feels he has already taken the most difficult step.
I'm at that age when you really have to decide if you want to be a professional footballer, but fortunately I have just signed my first professional contract to play for second-division side Aves," he explained. "I couldn't be happier, but for now I'm only thinking about the Regions' Cup as I want to help Braga win the trophy."
The next obstacle in their path is Ukraine's Yednyst Plysky, 2-0 losers against Württembergischer FV on Matchday 1, and Renato Reis is confident Braga are ready for the challenge. He said: "Teams from Eastern Europe usually have a very physical style of play and I'm certain that will be the case with Yednyst, but I'm confident that our skilful football will prevail once again."
Skill is crucial, but at the end of a long season, so is stamina, especially among amateurs who have never played at the intense level of a major final tournament. The going is tough but Renato Reis is sure Braga can stand the pace. "We are amateur players and obviously we are not used to playing every other day," he said. "But we will recover well and on Thursday we will be there to play and win, as we always are."
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