Benfica will go into the second-leg of their Europa League match-up against Newcastle United with a two-goal lead on aggregate. Jorge’s Jesus’ club managed a 3-1 victory over Newcastle on Thursday night in Lisbon, which means they will go into next Thursday’s match at St. James’ Park with a comfortable lead.

Benfica were without winger Eduardo Salvio who missed the match with a knee injury. Promising midfielder André Gomes made a surprise start in the left side of midfield for the Águias. Oscar Cardozo played upfront, with Rodrigo and Nicolas Gaitan on the wings.

Despite the final score line, it was Newcastle that started the match with greater energy. They were rewarded when Moussa Sissoko crossed the ball into the box to Papiss Cissé who struck it into the wide-open goal. The English side continued to press after going one up.

But in the 25th minute, Oscar Cardozo struck a hard shot from distance which Newcastle Tim Krul stopped but was unable to hold on to. Rodrigo quickly grabbed the rebound and scored. This was the break that Benfica needed.

In the second half, Lima took advantage of a defensive mistake by Newcastle Davide Santon to put Benfica ahead. Soon after, Newcastle’s Steven Taylor handled the ball in the box and Benfica were given a penalty.

Oscar Cardozo scored on the initial attempt but it was waved off due to obstruction in the box. His second attempt was successful and Benfica had a comfortable lead with just under 20 minutes to play in normal time. Benfica held on to a deserving win.

“We are in the quarter finals and every club here is playing at a high level. Newcastle started well and they took advantage of a mistake by us, but we responded well and we deserved the win,” Rodrigo told Sic television.

“Nothing is decided. We still have to play one more match that will decide everything. We have a good advantage but we need to play like its 0-0 and win again. We will maintain a winning spirit, regardless of the result of the game.”


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