After scoring the only goal of a tight contest against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Clube de Portugal striker Liedson paid tribute to his colleagues, saying: "The collective performance of the team gave us the victory."
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After scoring the only goal of a tight Group C contest against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Sporting Clube de Portugal striker Liedson paid tribute to his colleagues saying: "The collective performance of the team gave us the victory."
A knee injury had kept the Brazilian out of action for five months, but he has now scored in his two starts since returning to fitness – both goals leading to 1-0 victories – to give Sporting a reminder of what they have been missing. In Donetsk on Wednesday night, he latched on to Derlei's clever back-heel and finished clinically, giving his side a 76th-minute lead they did not relinquish. "I'm happy to score in such an important game, but the reason we won was because every player contributed," the 30-year-old said. "Each of us did their job tonight and we just need to reproduce this effort in Lisbon to move on to the next round."
Note of caution
The victory gives Sporting a three-point lead over their Ukrainian rivals ahead of the return match in Portugal on 4 November. However, Liedson feels the hard work is still to be done and expects "a tough test" in a fortnight's time. It is a view echoed by his team-mates. Marat Izmailov, who was substituted two minutes before his side's winner, said: "We have to be glad with the result, but not with our performance. We can play better and in Lisbon we will have to do so if we want to beat them again." The Russian midfielder also feels his side have yet to see the best of Shakhtar. "I'm sure they can improve and cause a lot of problems next time. We haven't booked our place in the knockout round yet – there are still three matches to play. Nothing is certain."
Brazilian midfielder Fábio Rochemback added: "After we scored, we fully concentrated on defending the lead and I'm very glad we gave them no chances. However, it was a very difficult game for us and I have no doubt it will be not be easier in the return. We have to start preparing for Shakhtar's visit straight away." The home side's players were in defiant mood after the defeat, with Igor Duljaj insisting Shakhtar could yet turn the tables on Sporting. "Until it is impossible to qualify, we'll fight for a place in the knockout round," said the 28-year-old Serbian.
"I believe in our team. This is not the right time to feel sorry for ourselves as we must find a way back from today's setback. Despite the loss we weren't inferior to Sporting. If we capitalised on a just a few of our opportunities, we'd be feeling very different now. Nevertheless, we will make amends in the return match. We can improve but all of us understand this is the Champions League where there are no weak sides."