If the rest of Europe did not already know it, goalscorer Willian believes FC Shakhtar Donetsk proved themselves a force to be reckoned with by beating AS Roma 3-0 last night, and 6-2 on aggregate, to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
It was a resounding second-leg victory that Shakhtar's 22-year-old Brazilian forward played a lead role in. Having opened the scoring in the 18th minute, Willian added a second close to the hour-mark to put the final nail in the coffin of a Roma side that missed a penalty – Andriy Pyatov denying Marco Borriello – and had Philippe Mexès sent off before half-time.
"It was a nice game and a very important game for Shakhtar," said former SC Corinthians player Willian, a constant threat to the visiting defence with his pace and movement. "The team played very well. Our goalkeeper Pyatov made a massive save and after the penalty save, which was a crucial moment in the game, we started to play a lot better and we are now one of the best eight clubs in Europe."
If Willian's first owed to a touch of good fortune, as his cross-shot eluded everyone before arcing into the net, his second was a well-taken curling effort that left Roma custodian Doni with little chance. The No10 is confident Shakhtar's presence in the last eight for the first time is a sign of things to come for the Ukrainian Premier League leaders.
"Teams from Ukraine and Russia are getting better all the time," he said. "Teams from these countries are constantly getting to at least the semi-finals in the Europa League. Now Shakhtar have got to the Champions League quarter-finals. We play very attractive football which is important to us. People may not have thought much of us in the past, but now they will have to take notice."
Fellow attacker Eduardo, who completed a magical night for the Pitmen with the third goal in the 87th minute, concurred. "We didn't start well, and I think we had a bit of luck on our side with the goal and then the penalty save," said the Croatian international. "We had great support from our fans, it was unbelievable how they supported us through the 90 minutes, and I think we have shown we can be a force in Europe." That is beyond doubt.
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