Newcastle United vs Benfica match banter!
Posted on April 11th, 2013 | 114 Comments |
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Thurs 11th April, 2013.
Kick off: 8.05pm.
Referee: Ivan Bebek (Croatia).
UK TV: ITV 4.
Hello, good evening and welcome to our “match banter” feature for this evening’s Europa League second leg against Benfica.
As you probably know, the Magpies were soundly beaten 3-1 in the first leg at the Estdio da Luz. However, they did get an away goal so a 2-0 victory tonight will get them through to the next round. Although this might seem like a tall order against a team as strong as Benfica, Alan Pardew helped to put things in perspective by reminding us that all the team have to do is play as well as Barcelona did when they beat them 2-0 in the Champions League earlier in the season. On this the Silver Supremo said:
“There’s only one team which has beaten them by two clear goals, and that’s Barcelona, so that’s the size of the task, so we are under no illusions there. This is a Champions League team, really, and if it weren’t for Celtic’s fantastic performance in the group, they could have been competing in the Champions League. That’s the quality we are up against. I don’t think there are going to be many better sides that have played here than Benfica.”
Moving on to Benfica’s style he continued:
“They have a slightly different style to a Premier League team. They have some fantastic technical players – Gaitan, Rodrigo, Cardozo and Lima. They have a real, real threat on the counter-attack, and the game could get away from us – it could easily get away from us – so we have got to be very much on our guard that we approach it in the right manner, give ourselves a chance and try to get us to the end of the game in a position where we can get it back.”
“I would still feel confident two goals down with 10 minutes to go, the way that we are and the potential we have in the group, and the way I can affect it off the bench.”
That’ll be Shola on for the last ten minutes to score a brace then. Semi-final here we come!
Meanwhile in the other camp, Benfica’s head coach, Jorge Jesus, had this to say on this evening’s game:
“Newcastle will be strong in the first-half, not just in the last minutes. We will be ready for any strategy and will be prepared for strong attacks from the start of the game.”
He then continued by confirming that Benfica were prepared for Pardew’s long ball style of play this time, saying:
“I think Papiss Cissé and Shola Ameobi will start up-front. Newcastle have a strong game when the ball is in the air and we are ready for that, we have trained for this.”
Finally, he threw the usual pre match compliment our way by saying:
“Newcastle are a better team than their position shows in the league table. They have strong players and are a very good team.”
Well Benfica will certainly go into the game as favorites, though an overturn of last weeks result is not completely beyond the realms of possibility. So, I’ll leave it at that and get on with some team new by saying that Steven Taylor and Cheick Tiote will both miss out, Fabricio Coloccini is around two weeks away away from a return. Yoan Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy are of course ineligible to appear in this competition after appearing with other teams, but Alan Pardew has speaking of the “miraculous” recovery Hatem Ben Arfa, even though it is the other team who have a coach called Jesus. The Grey Gaffer also promised a “cameo” from the twinkle-toed Tunisian.
It has also been suggested that the recovered Massadio Haidara might replace Davide Santon this evening, while James Perch is available again. Mike Williamson could also return to action for the first time in fifteen games in the absense of Coloccini and Steven Taylor. Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic remain out, with Taylor said to be a few weeks away from a return.
Which only leaves it for me to get on with my usual reminders that I will be posting team sheets, links to watch the game online, though this one will be on ITV 4 in the UK like the last leg. Finally, I will be posting highlights and probably a video of the whole match when it’s all over.
Howay the Lads!
Newcastle United (4-4-1-1): Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara; Gael Bigirimana, Yohan Cabaye (C), Vurnon Anita, Jonas Gutierrez, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse.
Subs: Rob Elliot (G), Dan Gosling, James Perch, Sylvain Marveaux, Hatem Ben Arfa, Adam Campbell, Shola Ameobi.
Benfica (4-3-3): Artur (G), Andre Almeida, Luisao (C), Ezequiel Garay, Melgarejo, Eduardo Salvio, Nemanja Matic, Enzo Perez, Ola John, Lima, Nicolas Gaitan.
Subs: Paulo Lopes (G), Jardel, Maxi Pereira, Pablo Aimar, Andre Gomes, Rodrigo, Oscar Cardozo.