Main Page

Quick Links

The Rest
   Club info
   Last Season
   Unlikely Lads
   A-Z Index



Season 2012-13
Benfica (a) Europa League Quarter Final, First Leg

In association 


Thursday 4th April 2013, 8.05pm BST Live on ITV4

 Estadio da Luz, Lisbon

Conditions: Occasional heavy showers

Admission: £26 for NUFC fans




Newcastle United

3 - 1




12 mins Danny Simpson's fine ball down the United flank set Moussa Sissoko scurrying away and he delivered a fine low cross on the run that Papiss Cisse reached before a pair of defenders and tucked away with what looked like his shin from just inside the six yard box. Magic.  1-0

25 mins
Tim Krul could only parry Cardozo's effort into the path of Rodrigo Moreno, who slammed the ball home from close range 1-1

Half time: Benfica 1 Newcastle 1

65 mins
home substitute Lima made an immediate impact when harassing Davide Santon into a suicidal back pass that brought Krul off his line. The in-form Brazilian forward promptly steered a low effort into the empty net. 1-2

71 mins
Ola John's corner was controlled by Steven Taylor, who clearly used his arm - and later unconvincingly claimed that he'd got his laces caught in his studs. He appeared to have escaped punishment as the game continued, before the referee belatedly pointed to the spot. Confirmation later came that the extra byline official had seen the offence - just about the first time any of them have had an effect on our games in this competition this season. 

Oscar Cardozo came in off a slightly hesitant run up to belt the ball down the middle of the goal in the place Krul had vacated. However Benfica's celebrations were cut short when the referee ruled that a home player had encroached into the "D" of the penalty area. Cardoza took the spot kick again and this time squeezed it inside Krul's right hand post 1-3

Full time: Benfica 3 Newcastle 1

We Said

Alan Pardew

"Apart from 10 minutes at the end of the first half, I thought we were in control. It is an uphill challenge for us now. We probably had them just where we wanted them before the second goal and then we conceded two poor goals.

"There was obviously a mistake for the first of them, but the second was unlucky. It looked like Taylor caught Sissoko's boot-lace with his studs and it has affected his jump and we have gifted them a third.

"The side showed tonight what they have shown in Europe all year, that we are a competitive side. We have come up against a very good Benfica side, and with a couple of different breaks in the game, I think we could have come away with a fantastic result.

"I cannot say any more, I was overjoyed with the performance but not the result, that probably sums up my feelings.
We've done so much right tonight and got ourselves into a great position with Papiss' goal. In terms of the performance and the players, I can't fault them. 

"We came here to have a go at them and we did that. They caused some problems to us just before half-time for ten to 15 minutes, but other than that we were in control of the game.

"If it was 2-1, you would think we would have a good chance at home, but it is an uphill chance for us now. We have to give them respect and on the break they are going to be dangerous at St James', but we showed signs tonight that if we are ambitious and we can hurt them.

"Of course it is possible
(to qualify), anything is possible. If we can put Benfica under pressure at home, pressure can do funny things to you.

"I think at our place the away goal could come into it. We need to score first, I think, to have a realistic chance in that game, but I think we showed enough tonight to prove we can cause them problems.

"They are a good side, there is no doubt about that, but for long periods in that game we were comfortable. I was overjoyed with the performance but not the result, and that probably sums up my feelings. I thought on another given day we could have got a much better result, for sure.

"I thought we probably had them where we wanted them just before their second goal and then it is two poor goals on our part. We are disappointed with the result, because of the performance level. In some parts of the game we played very, very well."

Yohan Cabaye:

"It's a big disappointment. We started very well – we were leading 1-0 and we had the chances to score the second goal, which unfortunately we didn't take. We ended up giving goals to our opponents, but the fact we could make chances against such good opposition gives us some hope for the return match. 

"In front of our supporters, I'm sure we'll have chances. Now it's up to us to control the match well and play the 90 minutes right to the end to try and qualify. I'm sure the stadium will be full. We already had so many supporters here this evening and that's huge for us. It'll be a whole different atmosphere and I know we can count on our fans."

They Said

Benfica coach (and
former Sporting Lisbon midfielder) Jorge Jesus:

"It was a great game against a great team, with great players, which hindered us the most in the first quarter of an hour. Benfica's players really believe in what they do; we conceded the first goal but believed we were going to turn it around. 

"When you're confident and when the players know what they are doing, you can be confident. Today we did nothing different than we've done in other games - luck does not appear, it's earned. 

"I only knew the name of the Newcastle goalkeeper, but he stopped three or four goals. He was great. This was a great game, one of champions in my opinion.

"(In the second leg) we'll do the same thing as today. This result doesn't guarantee us anything, we know that this team is very strong at home and strong in the air.


Shola Ameobi came off the bench to complete his half century of appearances in competitive European fixtures but was unable to add to his tally of 15 goals.

United's European Record to date:

:133 Won:74 Drawn:28 Lost:31 Goals for:220 Goals against:128

This was our first competitive fixture against Benfica, having faced them previously in friendlies:

1971/72 won 1-0 (h)
1998/99 drew 0-0 (n*) (lost 3-4 on penalties)

*JD Sports tournament staged at the smoggies

United v Portuguese opposition (competitive):

1968/69 Sporting Lisbon (h) won 1-0 Robson
1968/69 Sporting Lisbon (a) drew 1-1 Scott
1968/69 Vitoria Setubal (h) won 5-1 Davies, Foggon, Gibb, Robson 2
1968/69 Vitoria Setubal (n) lost 1-3 Davies
1969/70 Porto (h) won 1-0 Scott
1969/70 Porto (a) drew 0-0
2004/05 Sporting Lisbon (h) drew 1-1 Bellamy
2004/05 Sporting Lisbon (h) won 1-0 Shearer
2004/05 Sporting Lisbon (a) lost 1-4 Dyer
2012/13 Maritimo (h) drew 1-1 Marveaux
2012/13 Maritimo (a) drew 0-0
2012/13 Benfica (a) lost 1-3 Cisse

Quarter Final First Leg Results:

Chelsea (England) 3-1 Rubin Kazan (Russia)
Spurs (England) 2-2 Basel (Switzerland)
Fenerbahce (Turkey) 2-0 Lazio (Italy)
Benfica (Portugal) 3-1 Newcastle United (England) 


Alan Pardew had labelled Thursday's Europa League first leg tie as 'Mission Possible', but after a typical evening of triumph and despair from his side, Newcastle now need a flawless display at both ends of the field next week if they are to win a place in the last four.

Coming into this game having lost on home soil only to Barcelona in the previous 12 months and with a 29 game unbeaten domestic record, the extent of our task was apparent even with a full strength side, let alone one without messrs Ben Arfa, Coloccini, Debuchy, Haidara and Tiote. 

United's thirteenth European tie of the season had the feel of a grand occasion in the same way of our previous visits to Barcelona, Milan and Rotterdam and the comparison with the Nou Camp is certainly a valid one in terms of status - and breathtaking merchandise prices in the club shop. 

The real Stadium of Light had 20,000 empty seats tonight, but remained a suitably imposing venue and the surroundings seemed to inspire the away contingent, who provided great vocal backing to their side and were applauded by home fans in the stand to their left after full time. 

Before kickoff the home side's eagle mascot had memorably swooped around the stands and playing area, but it was Papiss Cisse who looked in the mood to hunt down his prey on the field. The number 9 poked home Moussa Sissoko's low centre and came desperately close to a second soon after - seeing his deflected shot from close range strike a post and rebound to Brazilian goalkeeper Artur.

Instead though, the next name on the scoresheet was a home player as Moreno scored the first goal we've conceded in this competition in 402 minutes. 

That brought the Portuguese League leaders more into the game and woke up their slumbering support, but United made it to the interval on level terms; thanks in part to Tim Krul's fine stop to deny the goalscorer, with the Dutchman in good form on his return from a four match absence.

Kicking towards their support, again United seized the initiative from the first whistle and Cisse again latched onto Sylvain Marveaux's pass and clipped the ball beyond Artur - only to again be denied by the woodwork. Had that gone in, the world may have been a very different place.

Instead though that let-off for Benfica prompted a response and they missed a glaring chance to take the lead for the first time on 56 minutes, when Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa surrendered possession to Rodrigo in the area but Cardozo thankfully blasted wide. 

With home fans and riot police tussling behind the goal for reasons that remained unclear, Davide Santon's awful back pass led to Benfica's second of the evening and marked the point that this all started to unravel from a Newcastle perspective. Further tragedy quickly followed as Steven Taylor handled a cross in his own box and although Cardozo's initial conversion was ruled out for encroachment, he confidently fired home at the second attempt.

At that point memories of the 1-4 horror show at nearby Sporting Lisbon eight years earlier were brought to mind, but United managed to see the game through to full time without conceding again to give themselves at least a theoretical chance of advancing in the second leg. 

For them to do so will first of all require a more focused defensive performance to record what is almost a pre-requisite clean sheet. We usually leave match statistics for others to slice, but a corner count of 12-0 in favour of Benfica is worthy of note, as is the 19-6 goal attempt tally.

That more attacking flair and midfield steel are needed in the return leg is a no-brainer, but the tricky part for the manager remains balancing his need for goals with the requirement not to allow Benfica to profit on the counter attack.  

The return of Cheick Tiote could bolster the midfield (unless he's in one of his Kamikaze moods), but inspirational displays of the type sadly lacking from the unadventurous Yohan Cabaye tonight are also pre-requisites. 

If any sort of shift can be coaxed out of Hatem Ben Arfa, that may be our best, slight, hope. If Tyneside does witness a miracle on Thursday, it won't be the work of Jesus.... 

A night of high drama awaits, with the possibility (in theory at least) of a penalty shootout to decide our fate. That uncertainty remains the essence of cup football: in order to achieve something memorable the occasion has to be created, in other words you can only achieve an against all odds triumph in the order of Feyenoord by getting in a mess previously.  

Unlike that fabulous night back in November 2002 there'll be 50,000 fans present, cheering and willing their heroes on to victory. Our uncomfortable league position threatens to undermine the occasion though and much will depend on whether three points have been earned from Fulham. 

The reality remains that the second leg is the least important of the three home games this week, in terms of the future financial health of the club. The vastly increasing rewards of Premier League membership though mean that preserving our status remains paramount, even to the exclusion of much coveted silverware. Sad, isn't it?


Page last updated 04 April, 2014