Newcastle United vs. Benfica  1 - 1

Article

Rui Costa: Benfica a force once more

12 April 2013 18:48

Benfica football director Rui Costa says the club is a rising force in Europe once again.

The Portuguese club knocked out Newcastle in the quarter-finals of the Europea League 4-2 on aggregate and have been drawn against 18-time Turkish league winners Fenerbahce in the semi-finals.

It is the second time in three years Benfica have reached the semi-finals of the tournament, after they were knocked out by fellow Portuguese outfit Braga in the 2010/11 edition.

Former Fiorentina and Milan midfielder Rui Costa knows it will not be an easy task against the Turkish club but remains confident ahead of the clash.

"It's the second semi-final in three years. Benfica is rising and improving. We are happy to be here but we want to go further. The goal is to reach the final," the 41-year-old told reporters.

"The most important thing was to be in the draw. Either opponent is of high quality, Fenerbahce eliminated Lazio. We want to continue our journey, with the ambition to reach the final and represent Portugal in a European final. It will not be easy but we are optimistic."

The first leg will be played in Turkey on April 25 before the fate of the two clubs will be decided on May 2 at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

Article

Pardew proud of European adventure

12 April 2013 02:31

Alan Pardew insists he is proud of his players despite Newcastle bowing out of the Europa League against Benfica on Thursday.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg Newcastle knew they would need to mount a stirring comeback in order to make the last four of the competition, and were roared on by a passionate St James' Park crowd.

Papiss Cisse gave the hosts hope when he nodded home on 71 minutes after twice being denied by the assistant referee's flag, but Eduardo Salvio killed off the tie with a clinical finish in injury time.

The 4-2 aggregate defeat ends the European adventure which has proved a welcome distraction from a disappointing Premier League campaign, but Pardew is adamant his men could do no more.

"They are a good side - you can't let them get a lead against you," he told ITV.

"In the first half we kept it tight and looked to nick a goal - and almost did before half-time.

"We had two or three big chances at 1-0 but you can't ask for anything more from the crowd, the players.

"You've got to respect the opposition - technically they are a superb side.

"I am so proud of the performance - we couldn't have done any more.

"We've got some very good players - when we get them all back we've got a very good side."

Benfica counterpart Jorge Jesus felt his side produced a business-like display in securing their place in the final four.

Jesus was greateful for the impact made by his second-half substitutes, who in his mind made a big difference in stopping Newcastle's late onslaught.

"Our objective was to go through and we have achieved that tonight which is great for our club," Jesus said.

"We are very happy to have progressed to the next round tonight.

"I thought it was important to have players with speed to make an impact on the game which is why I made the substitutions that I did.

"With that I felt we could create more chances and it helped to open up the opposition. this tactic eventually led to our goal."

Article

UEFA Europa League: Newcastle United 1 Benfica 1 (agg. 2-4)

12 April 2013 00:12

Newcastle United were knocked out of the Europe League on Thursday despite battling to a 1-1 draw with Benfica at St James' Park.

Following last week's 3-1 defeat in the first leg in Lisbon, Newcastle were given a glimmer of hope when Papiss Cisse's second-half header with 20 minutes remaining reduced the overall deficit.

But Alan Pardew's side left themselves with too much to do as Eduardo Salvio's 90th-minute strike sealed Benfica's progress into the last four.

Newcastle had goalkeeper Tim Krul to thank for keeping them in the tie early on as Andre Almeida's powerful cross from the right was flicked on by Lima, only for Krul to make an instinctive save with his foot.

Benfica should have gone ahead on the half-hour mark when Krul misjudged an attempt to clear the ball, with Lima pulling it back to Nicolas Gaitan to slot home, only for Massadio Haidara to hack the ball away on the goal-line.

Jorge Jesus' side continued to exert pressure on the home goal as Krul made a smart save from Enzo Perez's well struck volley.

Newcastle responded as Jonas Gutierrez went on a mazy run before his dangerous cross was cleared by Luisao, while Cisse began to look more ominous up front.

The introduction of Shola Ameobi at the break maintained Newcastle's momentum, but the hosts failed to take advantage of healthy possession as Benfica custodian Artur Moraes was barely forced into a save.

The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa offered Newcastle an extra dimension in attack and they earned a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when Ameobi's cross was headed in from close range by Cisse after a mix-up in the Benfica defence.

The home side continued to apply the pressure but Benfica showed all their know-how and experience to close out the remaining minutes without too much alarm, reducing Newcastle to ambitious long range efforts.

Benfica then sealed the tie when substitute Rodrigo squared for Eduardo Salvio to salvage a draw for the Portuguese giants, who progressed comfortably into the semi-finals.

Article

Jesus still cautious about Newcastle tie

10 April 2013 21:17

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has urged his players to avoid complacency during their Europa League quarter-final meeting with Newcastle United.

The Portuguese side go into the second leg of the tie at St James' Park on Thursday 3-1 up on aggregate following a comfortable victory at the Estadio da Luz last week.

However, the 58-year-old says he remains wary of the threat posed by the Magpies in front of their own supporters.

"We did enough - we scored three goals and Newcastle scored one," he said.

"But everything is still open, of course, and they still believe they can go through as well so everything will be decided tomorrow."

A last-gasp 1-0 win over Fulham at the weekend saw Newcastle move up to 13th in the Premier League table, but Jesus does not believe the Tyneside outfit's current position is a true reflection of their ability.

"Yes, of course they have a better team than is shown by the table. They have great players and they are a very strong team," he said.

"Newcastle will start very strongly in the first half as well and we are ready for that. We are always ready for any type of strategy from other clubs so we will be prepared.

"If they attack it will put more emphasis on our defence. I believe Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse will play up front and they are very strong in the air.

"But we will be ready for that and have trained for all these possibilities."

Benfica striker Rodrigo, who enjoyed a brief loan spell with Bolton during the 2010-12 campaign, also spoke of the effect the passionate English support could have on the tie.

"We know all the British teams have very supportive fans but we are used to that, so the players are quite relaxed about it," he said.

"Of course we are aware it would be a pretty good moment if we could get through but we will have to wait and see. We know Newcastle are powerful up front but it's our job to neutralise their attack to get through to the next stage."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
6 16 +9 26
7 16 -2 24
8 16 -4 23
9 16 +2 22
10 16 +3 21

Primeira Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 13 +23 34
2 14 +24 31
3 13 +13 28
4 13 +14 25
5 13 +13 24