Benfica are one of those teams that didn’t qualify for the later stages of the Champions League, but did well enough in their group to get into the Europa League knockout rounds, much like Chelsea did, and they are now one of the best teams left in the Europa League.
Alan Pardew - done homework on Benfica
It’s always seemed strange to us that Champions League teams that don’t qualify from the group stage of the Champions League are allowed into the Europa League, and maybe that’s one reason why there are just too many Europa League games each season, as Alan Pardew has complained of a number of times.
But that’s the way things are at the moment, and Newcastle will have a very tough game in Lisbon tomorrow night, and will do well to replicate our defensive record in the knockout rounds – where we have yet to concede a goal in four games.
In the group stages of the Champions League Benfica managed a 0-0 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, and they beat Bayer Leverkusen and Bordeaux home and away in the last two Europa League knockout rounds – and of course we were beaten 2-0 at Bordeaux although we hammered them 3-0 at home in our Europa League group.
It seems Newcastle have done their homework on the famous Lisbon side, as he had this to say:
“We’ve got a good knowledge of Benfica, as they will of us,” “They’re top and they look like they’re going to win it to me.” “We’ll have played two of the best teams in Europe, I think, in Manchester City and Benfica this week.”
“It’s a wonderful city,” “I’ve been there three or four times and it’s a great footballing city.” “They’re going to really, really love it there and hopefully they conduct themselves like they have in the other European games, where they’ve been absolutely excellent.”
Benfica have 64 points from 24 games played ion the Portuguese Leage and are 4 points ahead of Porto, and have yet to suffer defeat and they have dropped only eight points in their four drawn games – so they are a top side and hammered Rio Ave at home 6-1 on Saturday, so they’ll not lack confidence tomorrow night, that’s for sure.
It will be a difficult game for our lads – so we hope they can play somewhere near their best – otherwise our European adventure could be all but over.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org