Live Commentary: Benfica 3-1 Newcastle United - as it happened

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew before kick-off in the Europa League tie against Metalist Kharkiv on February 14, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary for Newcastle United's visit to Benfica.

Newcastle United travelled to Benfica for the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final between the two sides.

The evening started well for the Magpies, with Papiss Cisse netting a vital away goal, only for Rodrigo Moreno to draw the hosts level before half time.

Benfica dominated the second period, and take a 3-1 advantage to St James' Park after Lima and Oscar Cardozo found the net.

Find out how all the action unfolded with our minute-by-minute text commentary below.


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7.10pmGood evening and welcome to our live coverage of this Europa League quarter-final between Benfica and Newcastle United. First and foremost, we have some team news for you...

7.12pmNEWCASTLE: Krul; Simpson, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Perch, Cabaye, Marveaux, Sissoko, Gutierrez; Cisse
SUBS: Elliot, Williamson, Gosling, Anita, Obertan, Ameobi, Campbell

7.12pmLooks like Alan Pardew has rung the changes for the visit to Portugal. We'll have the Benfica side for you as soon as it is in.

7.15pmBENFICA: Artur; Andre Almeida, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo; John, Matic, Andre Gomes; Rodrigo, Oscar Cardozo, Gaitan
SUBS: Paulo Lopes, Roderick, Aimar, Lima, Maxi Pereira, Urreta, Perez

7.16pmThe Magpies welcome back goalkeeper Tim Krul for tonight's first leg. His inclusion in the starting XI is one of four changes by Pardew, with James Perch, Davide Santon and Sylvain Marveaux all making the cut.

7.20pmThis is a strong Newcastle lineup, and it had to be. Tonight promises to be their toughest test in the Europa League this season. Benfica are currently top of their domestic league and go into the game off the back of a 6-1 win over Rio Ave.

7.23pmThe Magpies may have failed to recapture last season's Premier League form, but it's been a different story in this competition. Solid defensive performances have seen them keep clean sheets in their last four European outings. They will set a new Europa League record should Benfica fail to score this evening.

7.26pmBenfica are certainly efficient at seeing off domestic opposition, but their record against English sides is far from immaculate. They have never beaten a Premier League team in the last eight of a European competition, despite having five opportunities.

7.30pmHowever, they had some success against Celtic in this season's Champions League group stages, defeating Neil Lennon's side 2-1 on home soil and holding them to a 0-0 draw away.


7.32pmPardew revealed earlier this week that he has been in touch with Lennon for some advice on dealing with Benfica. Celtic may have bowed out of Europe since then, but they did manage to impress with that historic win over Barcelona in the group phase, so I'm sure Lennon had a few words of wisdom to offer.

7.35pmThere are two other English sides in European action tonight. You can follow our coverage of Tottenham Hotspur vs. Basel here. Chelsea take on Rubin Kazan in tonight's other fixture, which can be followed here.

7.39pmHere's what Alan Pardew had to say ahead of the game: "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. It will be difficult to contain them if we come here just to defend. I think both teams are good in possession and therefore, that will be a key element."

7.43pmTonight should be an interesting game. Newcastle have the best defensive record in this competition, while Benfica are prolific goalscorers, having found the net 102 times in all competitions this season. How's that for a stat?

7.47pmNow seems like as good a time as any for my prediction. Sorry Magpies fans, but I'm going with Benfica. They have the home advantage and will be brimming with confidence following their 6-1 win at the weekend.

7.50pmThat's not to say it won't be close. As we've already discussed, Newcastle have defended exceptionally well in Europe, so I think they will go into the second leg with a chance of progression. I'm going with 1-0 to Benfica.

7.54pmAside from the ties involving British sides that we have already mentioned, there's just one other quarter-final tonight. Lazio pay a visit to Turkish side Fenerbahce in what will be a tough test for them.

7.58pmIt's an uncharacteristically cold and rainy night in Lisbon this evening, not unlike the North-East of England around this time of year.

8pmOscar Cardozo is one to watch for Benfica this evening. The Newcastle defence will have their hands full with him, but if they can keep him quiet, they will be in with a chance of getting something from this first leg.

8.02pmBoth sets of players are lining up out there on the pitch with kickoff just minutes away. The Estadio da Luz is a fantastic venue and there is a good crowd here tonight. Benfica's eagle mascot has just flown over the stadium, decked with coloured ribbons!

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0 minNewcastle get the opening leg of this quarter-final underway!

1 minTonight will prove to be the ultimate test for Newcastle's defence, but it's them who claim the first attack. Cisse gains possession inside the area and goes for goal from an awkward angle. Artur makes a comfortable save.

3 minBenfica looking somewhat shaky at the back in these early stages. Marveaux plays a lovely ball over the top that catches out the hosts' rear guard. Cisse's first touch is poor, causing the move to break down.

6 minBenfica claim the first corner as Santon hits it behind. Cabaye hacks clear the resultant set piece and Newcastle regain possession in the middle of the park.

7 minCisse tries to find Sissoko in the final third, but former Chelsea man Matic anticipates the danger and makes the interception. Benfica have their first attempt on goal through Gomes moments later, whose long-range strike goes harmlessly wide.

10 minSHOT! Gaitan almost breaks the deadlock from 20 yards with a deceptive effort that almost caught out Krul. The Newcastle keeper parried the initial shot, but managed to recover and collect the loose ball.

12 minGOAL! Benfica 0-1 Newcastle United (Cisse)

13 minIt's a dream start for Newcastle in Lisbon as an impressive piece of route-one football gives them a vital away goal. Sissoko played in a measured cross from wide on the right after latching onto Simpson's pass, and Cisse drilled home from close range!

16 minBenfica look for an immediate response as Gomes tries a cheeky chip from range, but Krul makes the catch without too much difficulty. Cordoza goes down in the box under Taylor's challenge and makes a meal of it. The referee tells him to get back on his feet.

18 minAnother Benfica chance goes begging with Gaitan heading over the bar under pressure from Simpson. It was a poor header that posed no threat to Krul whatsoever.

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19 minBOOKING! James Perch gets the first yellow card of the game for a late challenge on Gaitan. Benfica squander the resultant free kick, allowing Newcastle to break.

22 minNewcastle are looking the more comfortable of the two sides. Cisse looks very alert and likely to punish the opposition's defence should they give him the opportunity.

23 minOFF THE POST! Cisse latches on to Gutierrez's pass and tries to beat Artur with a wry chip. The Benfica keeper gets a hand to it, doing just enough to turn it against the post and collect the ball at the second time of asking. That was within an inch of creeping over the line!

25 minGOAL! Benfica 1-1 Newcastle United (Rodrigo)

26 minRodrigo draws Benfica level on the night after Krul pulls off an impressive reaction save to deny Cardozo. The initial effort was a vicious strike that the Newcastle keeper did well to parry, but it fell invitingly for Rodrigo to tuck away.

28 minSAVE! Fantastic double save by Krul to deny first Andre Gomes and then Ola John. Newcastle have him alone to thank for keeping the scoreline level! Rodrigo becomes the first Benfica player to go into the book for unsporting behaviour in the wake of the goalmouth action.

30 minA quick update from elsewhere - Chelsea are 2-0 up against Rubin Kazan, while Spurs are a goal down at home to Basel.

34 minSpurs are now 2-0 down! You can following that one live here.

36 minSAVE! Another top-drawer save from Krul as Rodrigo takes a lofted pass on the turn and shoots from inside the box. Benfica are starting to dictate play now, demonstrating how they have managed to score more than 100 goals this season.

39 minHalf-chance for Benfica as Rodrigo runs at the Newcastle defence and lets fly from outside the box. His effort flies well over the crossbar.

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42 minA couple of goals to report from elsewhere. Rubin Kazan have pulled one back against Chelsea from the penalty spot to make it 2-1, and Emmanuel Adebayor has found the net for Spurs.

44 minNewcastle have been on the back foot throughout the latter stages of this first half. Cardozo has just fired another warning shot, which flew over the bar. The Magpies look desperate for that half-time whistle.

45 minHALF TIME: Benfica 1-1 Newcastle United

8.52pmAll square in Portugal at the break. Cisse netted a vital away goal for the visitors, and Rodrigo banged in an equaliser just over 10 minutes later. Newcastle have been under the cosh since then, but as things stand, they are in a strong position in this tie.

8.54pmThe Magpies were getting sloppy as the clock ran down, inviting Benfica players to make runs and giving them too much space in front of goal. Tim Krul has made a few impressive stops, but some might argue that he was at fault for Benfica's goal.

8.57pmMeanwhile, the other English sides in action tonight are experiencing mixed fortunes. Chelsea lead Rubin Kazan by two goals to one at Stamford Bridge, while Tottenham are trailing Basel by the same scoreline.

9.00pmI expect Newcastle will be in for the hair dryer treatment from Pardew at half time. After such a positive start to the game, they allowed Benfica to dominate. Let's hope they tighten up in the second period because that away goal gives them something to build on.

45 minBenfica get the action back under way. If Newcastle can go the next 45 minutes without conceding, they can be very pleased with the outcome of this first leg.

47 minOFF THE POST! An explosive start to the second period as Cisse beats the offside trap and latches onto Marveaux's pass to go clean through on goal. He lobs Artur with a delicate chip, but his effort comes back off the post! Desperately unlucky!

49 minCisse has been more efficient at finding the post than Royal Mail this evening. He could have had a hat-trick tonight.


50 minGomes blazes the ball over at the other end from long range. He hasn't had any luck from distance tonight, yet he keeps trying because Newcastle keep giving him the opportunity.

53 minGutierrez concedes a corner under pressure from Rodrigo. John takes it, but Newcastle clear the danger. Matic goes down under a challenge from Cabaye that leaves him in some pain. He looks to the referee, but the official saw no malice in it.

56 minCHANCE! Rodrigo takes advantage of a defensive lapse and gets in behind the Newcastle back four. He cuts it back to Cardozo, who attempts to put the ball into an empty net, but there was too much on the pass. It needed only a toe poke and Benfica would have been 2-1 up!

59 minIt's been one-way traffic towards the Newcastle goal since Cisse struck the post at the other end. Play has been brought to a half while both sides prepare to make substitutions...

60 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Benfica take off their goalscorer Rodrigo and replace him with Lima. They have also replaced Gomes with Perez. Newcastle make an enforced change, taking off the injured Perch for Anita.

65 minGOAL! Benfica 2-1 Newcastle United (Lima)

66 minNewcastle are now behind having taken the lead and its the substitute Lima who has done the damage. Santon let him in with a terrible backpass, and he found the bottom corner with only Krul to beat.

68 minPENALTY FOR BENFICA!

70 minTaylor commits a blatant handball in the box to gift the hosts a penalty kick. Cardozo steps up and scores, but the referee has ordered him to re-take it for encroachment!

71 minGOAL! Benfica 3-1 Newcastle United (Cardozo)

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72 minA textbook penalty from Cardozo leaves Krul with no chance, despite the Newcastle keeper guessing the right way. He kept his composure at the second time of asking and found the corner.

72 minPerez is booked for a bad challenge on Cabaye. The Frenchman steps up to take the resultant free kick himself, but plays it straight to a red shirt.

76 minNewcastle surge forward with Cisse and Sissoko bearing down on goal, but the offside flag goes up despite neither player appearing to have strayed offside. A bad call by the official there.

80 minA Benfica chance goes begging as Matic puts a free header into the side netting. Had he headed that across goal, Benfica could well have out the tie to bed. Meanwhile, Ameobi has come on to make his 50th European appearance, in place of Marveaux.

83 minSUBSTITUTION: Newcastle bring on former Everton man Gosling for Taylor as they attempt to claw their way back into this tie. A second away goal would work wonders for their prospects.

85 minBOOKING! Ameobi is booked for a shove on Gaitan. He had his arms raised, but the Benfica man made a meal of that in an attempt to deceive the referee into brandishing a red card. Disgraceful!

89 minLima looks to add to his tally from long range in the dying stages stages, but his ambitious effort bounces wide. He's made a significant impact on the game since coming on, although that effort left a lot to be desired.

90 minFour minutes of stoppage time to be played. If Newcastle were to snatch a late goal that would make a world of difference ahead of the second leg. It isn't looking too likely, though.

90+4 minLittle to report on in time added on, aside from a Perez strike that flew into the stand.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Benfica 3-1 Newcastle United

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9.57pmIt hasn't been a great result for Newcastle in Lisbon, but it could have been worse. They are going to need at least two goals in the return leg to progress, and that is a big ask against a side of Benfica's quality.

9.59pmThe other English sides in action tonight experienced better fortunes. Chelsea lead Rubin 3-1 with full time approaching and Spurs overturned a two-goal deficit to draw with Basel at home.

10.00pmThat's all from me here tonight. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for this Europa League quarter-final. We'll bring you all the action from the second leg next week, so do join us then.

Tim Krul
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