Newcastle 1-1 Benfica (Agg: 2-4): Magpies bow out despite Cisse strike
The Magpies' European adventure came to an end despite a spirited performance as Benfica earned a 1-1 draw which booked its place in Friday's semifinal draw.
Newcastle United was knocked out of Europe on Thursday after a 1-1 draw against Portoguese league leader Benfica at St. James’ Park.
Papiss Cisse's second-half header gave the home side a fighting chance with 20 minutes remaining before Salvio's late strike ensured it was the Portuguese side which progressed to the last four with a 4-2 aggregate win.The Mapgies had goalkeeper Tim Krul to thank for keeping them in the tie before some of the sell-out crowd had even taken their seats.Andre Almeida’s powerful low cross from the right was flicked on goal by Lima, only for Krul to make an instinctive save with his foot.
Benfica continued to dominate the early exchanges and maintain control of the tie with Brazilian veteran Luisao at the heart of its imperious defensive lines. However, as the half wore on the home side began to find its feet and if it wasn’t for a heavy touch by Papiss Cisse, the striker may have pulled one back after a deft ball over the ball.
The Portuguese league leaders showed a clinical edge in the first leg but wasted a glorious opportunity to all but book their place in Friday’s semifinal draw after an error of judgement from Krul shortly before the half hour mark. The Dutch shot stopper came racing out of his goal to collect a harmless long ball but his misjudgement allowed Lima to pull it back for Nicolas Gaitan to slot it home into the unguarded net, only for Massadio Haidara to sprint back and hack the ball away on the goal-line.
It took until the 44th minute for the home side to muster a noteworthy effort on goal but Cisse strayed a yard offside, and the linesman rightly raised his flag as the Senegalese forward swept home a cross from Bigirimana.
Halftime came at the wrong time for Newcastle as it began to push the visitors back but the introduction of Shola Ameobi at the break maintained the momentum gained by Pardew’s side before the whistle went.
Benfica had kept clean sheets in three of its last five European away games but was on the edge as the Magpies stepped up the intensity. However, despite a large amount of possession, the home side failed to force Artur into a meaningful save and after breaking down the Benfica defense, Cisse was once again flagged offside after converting from an Ameobi flick on.
The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa gave Newcastle an extra dimension and it grabbed a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining. Ameobi’s rifled cross was headed in from close range by Cisse after a mix-up between Matic and Garay on the right.
The home side continued to apply the pressure but Benfica showed all its European experience to close out the remaining minutes without too much alarm, reducing Newcastle to ambitious long range efforts.
Benfica saved itself from enduring a late Toon onslaught as substitute Rodrigo squared for Eduardo Salvio, who finished emphatically to seal the aggregate victory.