Preview: Newcastle United vs. Benfica

Papiss Cisse celebrates with manager Alan Pardew after grabbing the winner against Fulham on April 7, 2013
© PA Photos
Newcastle United host Benfica needing a 2-0 or better win to qualify for the Europa League semi-finals.

Newcastle United take on Benfica in the second leg of the Europa League needing to turn around the 3-1 defeat from a week ago in Portugal.

The Magpies ended a run of poor form with a last-gasp victory over Fulham on Sunday afternoon, which will have boosted their confidence ahead of this European clash.

Benfica, who currently top the Portuguese league by four points, have won their last eight consecutive matches in league and Europe.

For Newcastle, Hatem Ben Arfa is still a couple of weeks away from being able to start, but Massadio Haidara is close to a return. He is unlikely to start against Benfica, however.

Jorge Jesus will probably keep faith with a similar lineup that has seen such success in recent weeks.

Recent form

Newcastle: WWLLLW

Benfica: WWWWWW

Possible starting lineups

Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Santon; Marveau, Cabaye, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Gouffran; Cisse

Benfica: Artur; Almeida, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo; John, Matic, Andre Gomes; Rodrigo, Oscar Cardozo, Gaitan

Sports Mole says: 2-1

Benfica manager Jorge Jesus on the touchline on March 17, 2013
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