Benfica vs Newcastle United Europa League match banter!
Posted on April 4th, 2013 | 68 Comments |
Venue: Estadio da Luz, Lisbon.
Date: Thurs 4th April, 2013.
Kick off: 8.05pm.
Referee: Antony Gautier (France).
UK TV: ITV 4.
Hello, good evening and welcome to our “match banter” for this evening’s Europa League clash against Benfica from the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.
Now I’ve got that out of the way, the first piece of good news is that due to an major oversight by UEFA, they have allowed a French referee called Antony Gautierto officiate. Don’t they realise that Newcastle United are a French team now?
Another piece of possible good news (for Newcastle anyway) is that Benfica’s primary right winger and one of their biggest goalmakers and goalscorers, Eduardo Salvio, could be an injury doubt with his knee. Having written that though, there are still several very able players who could step into the breach. It is also true that Benfica’s injury worries are still less than our own, with Salvio being about the only top player who might be a concern.
Meanwhile, Alan Pardew has done what he does best, potentially starting a diplomatic incident with all Portuguese football fans (not just Benfica ones) by comparing their most succesful side ever, a team who have been in seven European Cup finals, winning two, by suggesting they could only be a “top eight or ten team” in the Premiership like West Brom, Swansea or Fulham. The Silver Supremo speculated:
“Looking at the quality of them (Benfica) and the fact that they are a Champions League team this year, plus they are already confirmed for (Champions League) next year. You have to say they would certainly be a top eight or ten team in the Premier League.”
I think he meant well, but he is Alan Pardew after all.
Meanwhile, Benfica’messiah Jorge Jesus responded by subtly reminding Pardew of something Pardew will certainly prefer to forget on his little Portuguese holiday, Newcastle United’s execrable Premier League form, saying:
“Leagues are different, so how we are doing and how Newcastle are doing in their league will not mean too much. Europa League football is different. Newcastle are a very strong team, they have only lost one game in the competition.”
On the evening’s match he continued:
“It will not be decided in the first leg so we need to make sure we finish the 90 minutes in a strong position. All teams in the quarter-finals are strong teams. There is not much between the teams at this stage, so Newcastle will be a strong team.
In what some might see as another very subtle dig back at Pardew’s comments, he also remarked:
“In the last few years we have beaten Manchester United, Everton – so it is understandable the English are looking at us like we are a team doing well.
“What we have to do is focus on Benfica, this great team.”
But enough manager’s handbags and pre match speculation, we shall see how this first leg pans out soon enough! For now I will just get on with my usual reminders that although the game will be broadcast live on ITV 4 in the UK, I will be posting links to watch the game online for those of you who might be overseas or whatever, as well as posting team-sheets, and finally, match highlights and a full match video when the game is over!
Howay the Lads!
Benfica (4-3-3): Artur (G), Andre Almeida, Luisao (C), Ezequiel Garay, Melgarejo, Nicolas Gaitan, Nemanja Matic, Andre Gomes, Rodrigo, Oscar Cardozo, Ola John.
Subs: Paulo Lopes (G), Roderick, Maxi Pereira, Enzo Perez, Urreta, Pablo Aimar, Lima.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon; James Perch, Yohan Cabaye (C), Sylvain Marveaux, Moussa Sissoko, Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse.
Subs: Rob Elliot, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Adam Campbell.