Santos supplies Aveiro hope
Sunday, 24 June 2007
Portugal's Aveiro AMA are back in contention for the UEFA Regions' Cup thanks to the goalscoring prowess of 21-year-old striker Javier Santos.
Santos, who supports SL Benfica and names Rui Costa as his football idol, struck twice against Ukrainian side Ivan Odessa AMA on Friday to put his team back in contention for a place in the final - and himself into the joint lead in the goalscorers table with Tuzla Canton AMA's Admir Hanić. The striker, however, shared the credit with his team-mates.
'Enjoying the moment'
"It is great to score twice in a game in such a tournament," Santos told uefa.com. "But that is because of the help I got from the whole side. We played really well and better that the game against Ticino. I think we deserved the win against Ivan Odessa and we are enjoying the moment."
Although Santos confesses that their loss to Ticino gave them a tough task - and they still trail leaders and Sunday opponents Dolnoslaski AMA by three points - the forward says they are now settled in Bulgaria. "The first game against Ticino was not a good one," Santos said. “I do not want to make excuses, but we were not fully fit for that game. We arrived the night before the game and the trip was rather exhausting. Also, the heat was hard to endure, but we were quite comfortable in the second game. We passed the ball well and we able to use our style and we won."
So now Aveiro must overcome Dolnoslaski in their third game at Stara Zagora's Beroe Stadium to become Portugal's second finalist in the five UEFA Regions’ Cups tournaments after Braga AMA in 2001. "Obviously, the Polish side look the favorites, but after our win over Ivan Odessa we feel quite confident. The reason for out change of fortunes is the defence. Against Ivan Odessa we were almost perfect at the back. If we maintain that level, we have a chance to win. Of course, this is mainly a mathematical chance. We have to win by a good margin and wait for good news from the other game, but anything is possible in football. We are here to do our best and will fight to the last."