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Season 2022-23
SL Benfica (a) Friendly


Tuesday 26th July 2022, 8.00pm

 Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
Live on NUFC TV

Conditions: Rancorous

Admission: €20

No programme




3 - 2





15 mins The softest of goals as the unchallenged Goncalo Ramos flicked a near post header from Joao Mario into the Newcastle net from a corner in front of the away support.

No defender got anywhere near the Portuguese striker, Nick Pope setting off  to punch the ball but behind Ramos and unable to intervene. 0-1

22mins Miggy Almiron picked up the ball in the centre of the Benfica half and spread a fine pass out to Kieran Trippier in space down the right. Just before reaching the byline unopposed, Trippier spotted Almiron who had continued his run and the two combined again as the Paraguayan side-footed into the unguarded goal from 12 yards out. 1-1

31mins A questionable free-kick award for a Bruno Guimaraes fend-off gave Alejandro Grimaldo the chance to line up a free kick in a central area and he took full advantage, powering in a left-footed shot from 25-yards out flew into the top corner as Pope made a despairing but futile dive. 1-2

44mins Trippier appeared to be boxed in near the right touchline but he spotted the run of his Paraguayan colleague into the area and found him perfectly with a flick of the outside of his boot. Miguel Almiron ran onto the ball and expertly guided a left-footed shot inside the far post. 2-2

Half time: Benfica 2 Newcastle 2

89 mins A hopeful ball forward from Bah found Roman Yaremchuk who beat Dan Burn a bit too easily on the Benfica right before pulling the ball back for Henrique Pereira Araujo to lash in from six yards and win the tie. 2-3

Full time: Benfica 3 Newcastle 2

We Said

Eddie Howe:

"We had a very good performance today. It was a high quality game, worthy of the Premier League and it was what we needed at this stage of preparation for the season.

"The Portuguese League is very strong technically: you can see it in Benfica's style of play. The style suits the Premier League. We look at all the leagues around the world, looking for players for Newcastle.

"The intensity of the game was very good....Pre-season was very intense, now we are looking forward to returning home and starting our domestic games and competitions.

"Benfica has an incredible stadium, passionate fans and a good team! It turned out to be, despite the result, a very good experience for us. Let's hope the team improves during the season."

On Matty Bondswell:

"He’ll learn a lot from it in terms of the atmosphere, the players he’s up against – and the players he’s playing with.

"Sometimes, as a young player, you need that break. I thought he did his chances no harm of maybe more outings.”

On the away support:

"They were a long way from us, up high, but I hope they enjoyed what they saw. I’m sure they did and I hope it was worth the effort and the time and expense to come out and see us, support us.

"It means the world to us and a big thank you from me to them.”

On the Joelinton dismissal:

"I’m disappointed, to be honest. For me, in pre-season friendlies, the last thing I want to see is a red card for either team unless there’s a tackle that’s really out of the spirit of the game. I don’t think Joelinton’s tackles were.

"The second one was late, and he acknowledged that and stayed to try and look after the lad.

"It spoiled the last 10-15 minutes, but it was a good test for us as well. We weren’t quite good enough to see the game out, which is disappointing from our perspective.”

(It was later confirmed that Joelinton would be suspended for this Friday's kickabout against Atalanta but available to face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.)

They Said


Roger Schmidt

"It was a very difficult game, against a very good and very physical opponent. It was a perfect last test for the season and for the important games to come.

"I think we saw good things, but we also have aspects to improve and we will talk about At this point in pre-season we can't be perfect, but I'm happy.

"I saw a lot of good things, namely in the first half when we had good moments in the offensive transition, in attack, in the pressure and in the ability to recover the ball. Even so, the opponent had some space near our area and ended up scoring two goals.

"Newcastle changed players in the second half and had more ball possession.

In my opinion, analyzing the entire pre-season, the players were very well, they worked hard: now we have a week to rest, train and prepare for the next games.

"The players were a little tired in the second half, that was also my opinion. I was expecting it and that's why I changed the team. They played all pre-season, but now it's over and we'll have to be fresh and prepared for the official games.

For me, it's more important to use training, because I know that throughout the season there are several times when we play every three days.

"The most important thing is to win. Not conceding goals is always important for the confidence of the defence. We have to keep the ball away from our goal, it's the best way to prevent complicated situations.

"We don't concede many opportunities this pre-season, but today Newcastle had a few. It wasn't an individual mistake, it was a chain of actions. I'm also glad it wasn't perfect, it's tests and we have to use these games to take steps forward.

"I'm happy that we won the Eusébio Cup. He was an excellent player and when we have a cup named after him, we have to do everything to win it, especially at our Stadium. having scored several goals, won the game and it was a good day for us."



Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

Almiron 45+29+61+86+45=266 +6 goals
Anderson 45+61+29+84+45=264 +1 goal
Bondswell 0+0+0+90+45=135
Darlow 45+0+0+90+45=180
Dubravka 45+29+61+0+0=135
Dummett 45+29+31+90+0=195
Fraser 45+29+61+90+0=225
Guimaraes 0+29+61+90+45=225 +1 goal
 45+29+61+90+37=262 +1 goal
Krafth 45+61+29+90+45=270
Lascelles 45+45+29+90+45=254
M.Longstaff 45+0+0+6+15=66
S.Longstaff 45+29+61+90+45=270 +2 goals
Munoz 0+0+0+4+0=4
 45+61+29+90+45=270 +1 goal
Pope 0+61+29+90+45=225
 45+0+30+90+45=210 +2 goals
Saint-Maximin 45+61+29+90+45=270 +1 goal
Schar 0+29+57+0+45=131
Targett 45+61+29+90+45=270
Trippier 45+29+61+90+45=270
Watts 90+0+0+0+0=90
Willock 45+61+29+90+45=270 +3 goals
Wilson 45+61+29+90+45=270 +1 goal

Although there variable circumstances including number of games, quality of the opposition and early-season European commitments, an unscientific check reveals Miguel Almiron's six pre-season goals to date is the most by any NUFC first teamer since Alan Shearer hit half a dozen in 2003/04.

Having sported the number 34 shirt against Burnley in Lisbon on Saturday, Matty Bondswell was clad in number 50 tonight. The Newcastle shirts were customised for the occasion with the game details on the front centre.

This was United's second visit here, following a UEFA Cup Quarter Final first leg tie in 2013 that finished 1-3 to Benfica. Papiss Cisse netted that night and scored again at SJP in the second leg which was a 1-1 draw.

Our most recent friendly encounter with Benfica was at the unlikely setting of Boro's Riverside Stadium in 1998 - future Magpie boss Graeme Souness seeing his side win 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

That followed a 1-0 success for United on Tyneside in August 1971, Tommy Gibb's effort seeing off a Benfica side that included the iconic Eusebio.

Benfica's Eusebio Cup record:

2008 Inter Milan drew 0-0 lost 4-5 pens
2009 AC Milan drew 1-1 won 5-4 pens
2010 Spurs lost 0-1
2011 Arsenal won 2-1
2012 Real Madrid won 5-2
2013 Sao Paulo lost 0-2
2014 Ajax lost 0-1
2015 Monterrey lost 0-3*
2016 Torino drew 1-1 lost 5-6 pens
2017 not staged
2018 Lyon lost 2-3^
2022 Newcastle United won 3-2

All games played at Estadio da Luz except * in Mexico  ^ on the Algarve.

Friendly Fire - NUFC friendly dismissals in the PL era:

1999 Andy Griffin v Helmond Sport (Netherlands) (a)
2013 Fabricio Coloccini v Pacos de Ferreira (Portugal) (a)
2015 Massadio Haidara v Sacramento Republic (USA) (a)
Jesus Gamez v Sporting Lokeren (Belgium) (a)
2020 Jamaal Lascelles v Boro (a)
Ciaran Clark v Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia) (a)
2022 Joelinton v Benfica (Portugal) (a)


Official half 'n' half scarves were available for €10 - "Tu És o Nosso Rei" translates as "you are our King" - a popular chant during Eusebio's time here between 1961 and 1975 and ever since.



An incident-packed evening in the Estadio da Luz ended with Newcastle losing out on lifting the Eusebio Cup on Tuesday night - and Eddie Howe leaving Lisbon with much to ponder after a full-blooded encounter.

The Magpies boss saw his side concede three times but reply twice through Miguel Almiron, before a late Benfica goal avoided the imminent penalty shootout and saw the hosts win their own trophy for the first time in six attempts.

By the time of the 89th winner though, the black and whites had seen Jonjo Shelvey limp off injured and Joelinton dismissed - one of three visiting players carded by comedic referee Nuno Almeida.

The antics of the match official caused consternation, but his decision to send off Joelinton for a second booking was lenient for what was a blatant stamp on Florentina that warranted a straight red.

Both benches had to be separated as the player left the field and the friendly threatened to turn distinctly hostile. Thankfully the consequent suspension will be served in pre-season.

The contest had been competitive from the start with four goals coming in an entertaining opening half, Almiron twice equalising after being set up by passes from Kieran Trippier on the right flank.

Conceding twice from set pieces will have concerned Howe, particularly the first - a soft near post header from Goncalo Ramos following a corner.

The second was an outstanding Grimaldo strike from a free-kick that Nick Pope didn't get near, although the free kick award was questionable.

Coming into their final friendly on the back of four pre-season victories, the home side were keen to impress as their new coach made his home bow a week before his competitive bow here in the Champions League next week.

United fought fire with fire though; counter-attacking well and Almiron netting two well-taken goals in addition to a further trio of chances.

Benfica remained unchanged for the second half against a completely different Newcastle line-up and the visitors soon found space in midfield - although Jacob Murphy and Chris Wood shot meekly when well-placed.

Shelvey was replaced by Matty Longstaff in the 75th minute after sustaining a hamstring injury from an awkward fall and within seven minutes a further blow came with Joelinton's dismissal.

From that point our main hope looked to be hanging on for penalties, but the home side won it in the 89th minute through Henrique Pereira Araujo - an outcome that we anticipated but coming via a slightly unexpected manner.

For once the over-used "good workout" expression was accurate; this really was a proper kickabout and more authentic than some competitive European games that we've attended.

One superb intervention by Sven Botman to snuff out a first half attack exhibited his energy and defensive quality, while Jamaal Lascelles looked uncomfortable and our view on messrs Ritchie and Murphy hasn't changed.

While the continued absence of Martin Dubravka has been blamed on a wrist problem, the failure of Jamal Lewis to kick a ball in pre-season has given a chance to rookie left back Matty Bondswell - refreshingly given the chance to impress Howe rather than giving Paul Dummett a trot out.

Bondswell acquainted himself well on what was a sizeable a step-up from a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town last season when he failed to force his way into the side and returned to play reserve team games at Whitley Park.

Fresh from his spell at third-tier Bristol Rovers meanwhile, Elliot Anderson again didn't look out of place among the senior side and may stay on Tyneside in the absence of any further attacking recruits. 

In terms of recent pre-seasons this one has been refreshing; a level of organisation and investment we're unused to despite the hasty rethink after the USA trip bit the dust. Making live coverage of the three overseas public friendlies available and not charging was a small but welcome gesture, although opting not to put tickets for tonight's game on public sale less positive. 

As a taster for the longed-for return to venues like this for meaningful matches, tonight was positively lip-smacking. 2018's pre-season trip to Portugal was enjoyable, but not for anything witnessed onfield: the drudgery of a 0-0 at Porto and the 0-4 Braga debacle that followed barely bringing a shot of any description never mind a goal. This was like night and day.


Page last updated 29 July, 2022