Europa League: Newcastle v Benfica match preview
A look ahead to tonight’s Europa League quarter-final second leg at St James' Park
Thursday 11 April 2013
Newcastle will have to eliminate costly mistakes and overhaul a two-goal deficit if they are to avoid their impressive Europa League campaign coming to an end at the quarter-final stage. Papiss Cisse’s early goal gave Alan Pardew’s side a wonderful start in Lisbon seven days ago, but they were subsequently well-beaten after committing a series of inexplicable defensive errors. After Rodrigo Moreno had equalised for the hosts, Lima gave them the lead after capitalising on a woeful Davide Santon backpass. In-form striker Oscar Cardozo then put the first-leg tie beyond any doubt from the penalty spot after Steven Taylor’s obvious handball.
Pardew bemoaned those individual blunders after the clash at the Estadio da Luz, but insisted he was otherwise delighted with the performance. His team were certainly more defensively astute in Saturday’s vital, confidence-boosting 1-0 triumph over Fulham, a result which sparked scenes of wild jubilation as it left Newcastle 13 in the Premier League and five points clear of the bottom three. Pardew has not been coy in blaming the club’s persistent injury woes on their continued involvement in this season’s Europa League, but has so far largely resisted the considerable urge to rest key first-team players throughout the competition. That resolve will presumably be sorely tested this week as Newcastle face a critical North-East derby against Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland on Sunday afternoon.
Benfica, meanwhile, will be hopeful of avoiding an upset at St James’s Park after continuing their imperious domestic form at the weekend. Eduardo Salvio and Nemanja Matic both netted to secure a comfortable 2-0 win over S.C. Olhanese, the club’s 21 victory of an unbeaten season. Jorge Jesus’ men have now won eight consecutive games and they will be confident of adding to the 107 goals they have scored in all competitions this season.
KICK-OFF: Thursday, 8.05pm
Benfica 3 (Moreno, Lima, Cardozo) Newcastle 1 (Cisse), Europa League, knock-out phase, April 2013
Papiss Cisse has been caught offside 12 times in this season’s Europa League. Only Fenerbahce’s Moussa Sow (17) has been flagged more often.
The Senegalese striker’s last-minute winner against Fulham on Sunday was the fourth time he has scored in the 90 minute this season.
Newcastle have been awarded 55 free-kicks in the competition so far, more than any other team.
Benfica have not progressed in any of their previous five European quarter-final meetings against English clubs.
Newcastle to win: 3.0
Benfica to win: 2.4
TV: Live on ITV4 at 8.05pm.
Latest in Sport
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Real Madrid striker fuels speculation he will join Gunners with cryptic Instagram post
Chelsea vs Barcelona: what channel is it on and how can I watch it?
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Arsene Wenger hits back over Jose Mourinho's claims 'buying success' ahead of Community Shield
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – highest and lowest transfer spenders revealed
Outraged Vietnamese fan burns Manchester City tickets after being snubbed by Raheem Sterling, Samir Nasri and others
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government