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Defender Moisés is hoping SC Braga can "make history" by forging their way through to the UEFA Champions League knockout phase, though their prospects hang in the balance ahead of their final Group H outing away against leaders FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
Braga travel to Ukraine knowing even a win could prove insufficient as much will also depend on Arsenal FC's result against FK Partizan in north London. Level with the Gunners on nine points – three behind Shakhtar – the Portuguese side are nonetheless determined to extend their maiden campaign at this level. "It would make history for the club," said Moisés. "
We've already made history by playing in the Champions League, but I think we're good enough to get through. We're good enough and I think we deserve it after everything we've done this season – all the difficulties we've gone through and overcome."
Qualification would certainly represent a supreme achievement for the centre-back and his colleagues, given that they kicked off with a humbling 6-0 reverse at Arsenal on Matchday 1. "I think that made the team learn fast," said Moisés, who has previous experience of UEFA Champions League action from his time with FC Spartak Moskva. "We run the risk of getting 12 points and still not qualifying, but I think this debut in the Champions League has only been positive for Braga and we're still trying to qualify. There are still good things to come for us and we can only give ourselves a pat on the back for what we've done so far."
Heads were certainly turned when Domingos Paciência's men earned a measure of revenge by downing Arsenal 2-0 last time out, and victory against Shakhtar would represent their fourth consecutive success in the section. "There's no doubt that we'll go for the win," added Moisés. "We know we're up against a team who are very strong on their own ground, but I think we proved ourselves away against Sevilla and Celtic [in qualifying], so the players are used to this type of game and we'll do everything to get a good result."
Signed from CR Flamengo in 2008, the Brazilian-born stopper has attracted plenty of praise for his own displays in the competition, and he underlined that these are inspiring times for the club that finished runners-up in the Portuguese Liga last term. "
It's very satisfying to be part of an era at Braga where we can all feel the change in the air," he said. "That's what's great about football, you know that you're doing your job but also being appreciated for it. I think [the UEFA Champions League] has been important for both the city and the club."
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