It has taken a while for SC Braga to light the touchpaper on their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign, but striker Lima says the Arsenalistas are setting their sights high having finally recorded their first points.
Tuesday's 2-0 win over FK Partizan at the Estádio Municipal de Braga brought relief after defeats on the opening two matchdays which left last season's Portuguese Liga runners-up goalless and pointless in Group H. Lima's superb first-half strike, direct from a free-kick, set them on their way against the Serbian champions before Matheus's last-minute goal sealed the points.
Lima is fast becoming a key figure in Braga's debut season at European football's top table. He netted a hat-trick as a substitute in the dramatic 4-3 play-off victory in Sevilla FC, and his goal against Partizan was another champagne moment.
"Along with the Sevilla game, this is the best moment of my career," he told UEFA.com. With competition to take the set piece, the Brazilian had to be firm. "I asked Matheus and Paulo César, who were also over the ball, if I could take it," he recalled. "I said I felt confident – I train hard for moments like that."
The 27-year-old, signed from relegated CF Os Belenenses in the summer, admitted the match was in the balance for much of the evening. "It was difficult, as all games are in the Champions League," he said. "We have very little experience. Once again we concentrated very hard and this victory should make us more at ease."
Having got off the mark, the forward now believes Braga can aim for the last 16. "We know it's going to be tough, but there are still plenty of matches and many points to play for," he pointed out. Lima also hopes group leaders Arsenal FC can do the Portuguese club a favour.
"Without doubt they're the best team in the group," he said. "It's good that they beat [FC] Shakhtar [Donetsk] tonight. If we win at Partizan we go to six points, and Shakhtar have to play Arsenal at home. We hope Arsenal can help us by beating them again in Ukraine, then we have to do our bit."
Partizan's Pierre Boya reckons his side can stage a recovery, despite three successive losses. "We still have two home games," the midfielder said. "It's a big disappointment because looking at today's match, we weren't that bad. In the second half we got into it but we know they are good on the break and very quick. We were trying to equalise and they caught us on the counterattack."
However, Boya thinks Partizan's formidable home record makes them impossible to write off yet. "We know how things can happen when we're at home," he said. "We will be ready for anything, and we have faith in ourselves. We will come back, we still have a chance."
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