Benfica vs. Newcastle United  3 - 1

Article

Santon takes blame for Europa defeat

6 April 2013 14:37

Newcastle United defender Davide Santon has apologised for his mistake in their Europa League loss to Benfica on Thursday.

The Italian left-back was at fault as he played a sloppy back pass to goalkeeper Tim Krul that was intercepted, resulting in Benfica's Lima scoring to put the Portuguese side ahead before they secured a 3-1 win.

The Magpies now need to score at least two goals in the return fixture when Benfica travel to St James' Park if they are to have any chance of progression.

"I am feeling angry with myself," Santon told The Telegraph.

"I think I had a good game against Benfica, but that pass was a disaster. As a defender, you have to make sure your pass is right, but I had Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa near me, so I couldn't see the striker.

"I am really angry with myself and when I got in the dressing room, I said sorry to everybody, to all the players, because it was my fault.

"Now we have to forget about it. I have to forget my mistake and think about Sunday and then, next week, we have to score two against Benfica."

Newcastle have league matches against Fulham and local rivals Sunderland before the return fixture, and Santon said Europe was at the farthest point of their focus as it stood.

"The Europa League is important, but the Premier League is even more important," he said.

"We need to make sure we save our season and stay in the division."

Article

Pardew upbeat despite first-leg loss

5 April 2013 01:58

Alan Pardew believes that Newcastle can be proud despite losing 3-1 to Benfica in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

The Magpies took an early lead through Papiss Cisse's strike but were pegged back thanks to strikes from Rodrigo, Lima and Oscar Cardozo's penalty, given for a Steven Taylor handball.

"I thought we did so much right tonight," Pardew told reporters.

"We got ourselves in a great position and, especially at 1-1 in the second half, we had kind of taken the sting out of them.

"And then we gifted them a goal and then, looking at the third goal, I think Steven's desperately unlucky. It looks like he's caught Moussa's (Sissoko) boot and that's affected his jump so it just wasn't to be I'm afraid.

"In terms of the performance and the players, I can't fault them. It was a great effort, we came here to have a go at them and they caused some problems to us just before half-time for about 10-15 minutes. Other than that, I thought we were in good control of the game.

"If it had been 2-1 you'd like to think we'd have a fantastic chance at home but it's an uphill chance for us now.

"It's one of those things and as a group we can be proud of the performance but disappointed in the result. I think that probably sums it up."

Despite the deficit, Pardew is confident that a roaring St James's Park atmosphere can inspire Newcastle to progress to the semi-finals when the two sides meet again on Thursday.

"I think the away goal could come into it," he said.

"If we get the first goal, I think that will obviously be very, very important at St James's.

"If we get the first goal, we're only going to need one more but they are a quality side and we have got to give them respect. On the break, they are going to be dangerous.

"I think we showed signs tonight that if we're ambitious, we can hurt a team."

Article

Pardew discusses Benfica with Lennon

3 April 2013 22:27

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has consulted Celtic manager Neil Lennon ahead of the Europa League tie with Benfica.

The Bhoys faced the Portuguese giants twice in the Champions League group stages, drawing 0-0 at Parkhead and losing 2-1 away, and the Magpies coach said he would seek advice from wherever he can get it.

"We have good contacts regarding this team. I know this city quite well and I have some contacts here who know Benfica well," Pardew told reporters.

"There is also Neil Lennon who we have been in contact with. I think it is important to get as much information as you can - as I'm sure Benfica have done with us."

With Thursday's hosts top of the Portugese Liga and having won 15 of the last 16 games at the Estadio de Luz, Pardew is well aware that his side will be in for a tough match but is optimistic that their home form can see them through to the semi-finals if they can keep the first leg tight enough.

"It is a big test for us because I think with any team that is on such a roll as Benfica, it is going to be difficult," the Newcastle manager added, "but I think at St James' Park we can beat anybody - we have no doubt about that game.

"Here, we need to put on a performance so we can take something back to give us a chance (in the second leg)."


Primeira Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 34 +70 85
2 34 +61 82
3 34 +38 76
4 34 +27 58
5 34 +15 55

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
13 38 -13 44
14 38 -9 41
15 38 -23 39
16 38 -22 38
17 38 -26 38