An important cog in the SC Braga wheel, forward Lima insists his team can overcome national champions FC Porto in Wednesday's all-Portuguese UEFA Europa League final in Dublin.
For all the might of Braga's northern neighbours, the versatile attacker is adamant the final chapter of Braga's fairy-tale campaign can be a joyful one. "Porto are not unbeatable," said the 28-year-old Brazilian, who scored four goals in the UEFA Champions League (qualifying included) before netting in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 against KKS Lech Poznań. "Both teams deserve to be in the final. I only hope we manage to play at the level we did against Liverpool [FC] and [FC] Dynamo Kyiv."
Lima cited the Minho side's UEFA Champions League play-off success at Sevilla FC – when he scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 second-leg win – as a further reason to believe they can once again upset the odds. "If it is about my desire, motivation and spirit, then I can live another night like the one in Seville," he said. "I really hope our unity comes out for all to see."
Although the former CF Os Belenenses player has failed to find the net since that strike against Lech Poznań, he made a key contribution to Braga's semi-final triumph over SL Benfica and remains content as a support act. "I'm trying everything to score but I am also staying calm about the situation because I'm giving everything for the team. There is always pressure but
tomorrow I have a great opportunity and, who knows, it may be me who sends our supporters into dreamland.
"I'm very happy to be a Braga player," Lima, still in his first term at the Estádio Municipal, continued. "I always thought I could achieve something in the game and my season at Belenenses [in 2009/10] was a springboard to show what I can do."
The No18, ever-present as the Arsenalistas have overcome Lech, Liverpool, Dynamo and Benfica to reach a historic first European final, has also found a wise mentor in Braga boss Domingos Paciência. "The gaffer brings calm to the group," he said. "He gets the team playing to our limits. He's a great coach and is making history here. Together we can deliver a great performance and lift that trophy.
"We all know what Porto have done this season – they are full of top-class players, both up front and in defence – and we know it is going to be difficult for us to win. But we have faced top teams already this season and this game will be no different."
Braga winger Alan is even better acquainted with the opposition, having represented Porto between 2005 and 2007. He refuses to be daunted by the competition's 36-goal leading marksmen. "We accept Porto are favourites but in a one-off game anything is possible.
Braga have great spirit, unity, togetherness and determination. More than anything, we have great desire."
Indeed, the 31-year-old Brazilian, whose solitary first-leg strike fired Braga past Liverpool, is interested in what Paciência's men can do for themselves at the Dublin Arena – rather than in what they can do to stop Porto. "Our campaign leads us to believe that we can win," he stressed. "We deserve a lot of credit for what we've achieved this season."
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