After scoring a hat-trick to earn his side a last-gasp draw against three-time UEFA Cup winners Juventus in Turin, KKS Lech Poznań striker Artjoms Rudņevs could barely comprehend his achievement.
In a thrilling UEFA Europa League encounter Rudņevs scored twice in the first half to give the Polish champions a surprise 2-0 lead only for Giorgio Chiellini to cancel the advantage with two goals of his own either side of half-time. Alessandro Del Piero's long shot seemed to have settled the match in Juve's favour, but the Latvian international stunned La Vecchia Signora with a spectacular late equaliser.
"I can't really put into words how it feels," the 22-year-old told UEFA.com. "I'm really happy. I have always dreamed of scoring against a side like this. But to score three is something magical, fantastic.
"There's no doubt this is the best match of my career," he added. "Before now I would have been hard pushed to say which was my best match, but tonight in Turin has no competition. This is the kind of thing that stays with you forever."
Rudņevs only arrived from Hungarian side Zalaegerszegi TE in August, but four goals in five league appearances had already suggested Lech had been wise to invest. After Thursday's performance a player who was virtually unknown in Poland a month ago has suddenly found himself in the European spotlight.
"Juventus are a great team so we were pleased to go 2-0 up but when they made it 2-1 we got a bit nervous," he said. "In the end we had to really raise our game and fortunately it paid off.
"I was disappointed not to score with a header late on but luckily I still had time to score with my foot. It was the last minute and I had no time to think so I decided to shoot. When the ball ended up in the net, I almost lost my mind and raced to our bench where my team-mates almost choked me.
"To score a hat-trick is amazing and now I just want to keep scoring," he concluded. "If we keep playing like this we will win games in this group: I just hope I can keep helping the team. We've shown we have what it takes to play against the best teams and that we can do well in the Europa League."
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