Forward Luiz Adriano believes FC Shakhtar Donetsk's extra UEFA Champions League know-how made the difference against competition newcomers SC Braga in Portugal.
Mircea Lucescu's charges were at their clinical best at the Estádio Municipal de Braga, soaking up long periods of pressure before hitting the hosts on the counterattack with three second-half strikes.
Luiz Adriano expressed his delight after setting up a second straight Group H victory by scoring twice. "The two goals were important because they helped us get the win," the 23-year-old told UEFA.com. "It is important to have six points ahead of two difficult games against Arsenal FC, and the trip to [FK] Partizan who are strong at home."
If Braga had looked star-struck on their debut at Arsenal, they produced a better performance here and were unfortunate to lose so heavily. After seeing Douglas Costa add a late penalty for the visitors, Luiz Adriano admitted the scoreline flattered Shakhtar.
"They started very well," he explained, "attacking us and getting efforts on target. In the second half we began to attack more, improved quite a bit, and ended up scoring our goals."
The former SC Internacional player noted how Shakhtar, participating in the group stage for a sixth time, had learned lessons from past campaigns: "The experience we have in the UEFA Champions League counted a lot and helped determine the final result."
The five-time Ukrainian champions lifted the 2008/09 UEFA Cup – with Luiz Adriano netting against SV Werder Bremen in the final – but have yet to reach the last 16 of Europe's premier club competition. In 2007/08 they won their opening two matches before tumbling out, although their prolific No9 is confident of avoiding a repeat.
"I think we're on the right road," Luiz Adriano said. "Six points is useful, but we have to go away to Arsenal next. It's going to be difficult because they're a great team. But we hope to get a result and go to the next phase. That's our objective."
Luiz Adriano was one of 17 Brazilians involved in a European tie with a distinct samba flavour. One of his compatriots, Braga skipper Vandinho, lamented his side's lack of fortune. "We haven't started as we would have wanted," the 32-year-old midfielder said, "but we created a lot of opportunities. It wasn't our night."
He pledged that last season's Portuguese Liga runners-up would keep fighting. "We have to congratulate everyone for battling, and we have to continue battling to give ourselves a chance."
Vandinho felt the inability of Domingos Paciência's team to take their first-half chances sealed their fate, saying: "Initially we were more aggressive and created more opportunities than them. In the second period they came into it more as they have players of great quality and it was difficult to recover."
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.