Benfica 3 Newcastle 1: Alan Pardew retains belief despite defeat in Lisbon

Newcastle lost the lead in the Europa League quarter-final

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The Independent Football

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew insisted it was not beyond his side to turn around their Europa League quarter-final against Benfica after they were beaten 3-1 in the first leg at the Estadio da Luz.

The Magpies initially had the upper hand in Lisbon thanks to a 12th-minute close-range strike from Papiss Cisse, who subsequently hit the post.

But the hosts equalised after 25 minutes when Rodrigo finished from a Tim Krul parry, and after Cisse struck the woodwork again with a chip early in the second half, Benfica took control of the tie.

First, Davide Santon's poor attempted back-pass allowed substitute Lima to round Krul and make it 2-1 in the 65th minute.

Then, six minutes later, Oscar Cardozo scored a penalty after Steven Taylor was penalised for a handball.

Pardew admitted his team now face a tough task in trying to keep their European campaign alive, but stressed his belief that they are capable of emerging from next Thursday's return leg at St James' Park with a place in the semi-finals.

"We need to score first I think to have a realistic chance in that game," Pardew said.

"But I think we showed that we can cause them problems.

"Of course it is possible (to still win the tie), anything is possible.

"If we can put Benfica under pressure at home, pressure can do funny things to you.

"You could score two quick goals and suddenly the tie could have a very different feel."

Pardew was keen to praise his players' efforts in Lisbon and emphasised that the blame for errors was collective.

He said: "I thought we probably had them (Benfica) just where we wanted them just before their second goal and then it is two poor goals on our part.

"There was obviously a mistake for the first and then with the second Steven is so unlucky.

"It looks like he has caught his boot laces in his studs and that it has affected his jump (when the ball struck his arm).

"We have to accept mistakes as a team. There is no (individual) responsibility.

"I was overjoyed with the performance but not the result, and that probably sums up my feelings."

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus made it clear he also feels the tie is far from over.

Asked if he thought the quarter-final had been decided, Jesus said: "No. Newcastle showed they are a strong team and they are even stronger at home and more aggressive.

"It (the second leg) will be an open match, but we are ahead.

"We had a really great match. There was a bit of everything - missed chances, taken chances, a lot of emotion."