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Milan Jovanović reflected on a "perfect performance" by R. Standard de Liège after the Serbia striker helped inspire the Belgian titleholders to a stunning victory over Panathinaikos FC which makes them favourites to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
The 28-year-old scored one goal and provided the assist for another at the OACA Spiros Louis, as Domenico D'Onofrio's team ended a run of six European away games without a win. "Honestly, before the game I didn't expect to win by such a big margin but our performance as a team was perfect – we played at a very high level," Jovanović told UEFA.com. "Panathinaikos have played several fantastic games in this competition, especially against Roma, but we were great. We scored at the right times and surprised them."
Panathinaikos, who eliminated AS Roma in the round of 32, had not conceded a goal in their previous three home matches against Belgian sides, but after Axel Witsel's eighth-minute header gave Standard the lead from their first attack, the Greens produced a disjointed display. "I think Panathinaikos are a very good team and the reason we were better was down to our performance," added Jovanović, who believes he and his team-mates have one foot firmly in the last eight. "This result should be enough for us to reach the next round. We have a big advantage with the three away goals, but it is still only half-time. We have another tough match to play."
While Standard are struggling in their domestic league, lying seventh after 26 games, Jovanović insists Belgium's reigning champions have the potential to ruffle a few more feathers in the UEFA Europa League. "In the Belgian championship maybe this is the worst season of my career, but we can cause a few surprises in this competition," he said. "Perhaps it's difficult for us to win the competition, but I believe we can do more than what people might be expecting of us."
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