Julius Aghahowa: Goal vs Schalke is one of the most important for me

In the Europa League Round of 32, Shakhtar will play against Schalke. 10 years ago, the teams faced each other at the same stage of the UEFA Cup. In the return game in Gelsenkirchen, the only and winning goal was scored by Shakhtar striker Julius Aghahowa. We got in touch with the hero of that encounter.

- Julius, do you remember your goal in Gelsenkirchen?
- Of course I do! It was an interesting game. We worked hard and were well prepared for the match. We really wanted to claim a positive result, and we succeeded.
- In that episode, did you intentionally shoot it between the legs of the goalkeeper?
- Yes. I got a pass from the left flank and started entering the penalty area. After beating a defender, I had just the goalkeeper in front of me. I immediately decided how I would strike it, and did the right thing since the ball flew into the back of the net! After that game we were all very happy, because we made it further in the UEFA Cup. I had many important goals, with this one surely being one of them.

- Before the return game, did you have confidence to beat Schalke?
- That’s football: you cannot be one hundred percent sure about your success. But what we were surely confident about was our ability! We knew that we were well prepared. So we approached the match with optimism and won it.

- Is it hard to play away in Germany, especially in Gelsenkirchen?
- Of course it is. The stands are located very close to the field. It’s a challenge for the team who play away. The pressure of the fans is very serious! Therefore, Shakhtar should be ready for the fact that the stadium will be filled to capacity. And show good football.

- What do you make of the current Shakhtar’s chance of making it past Schalke?
- I have confidence in the guys. Shakhtar must make it to the next round. If I have some free time, I will go to Gelsenkirchen to support the team in the stadium. I would be very happy to do that. And, taking advantage of this opportunity, I want to wish the players, coaches, fans of Shakhtar and the club staff a happy new year. I wish them in 2016 peace, prosperity and all the best! May everyone be happy!