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UEFA Europa League: Newcastle United 1 Benfica 1 (agg. 2-4)

By Football News



Newcastle United were knocked out of the Europe League on Thursday despite battling to a 1-1 draw with Benfica at St James' Park.

Following last week's 3-1 defeat in the first leg in Lisbon, Newcastle were given a glimmer of hope when Papiss Cisse's second-half header with 20 minutes remaining reduced the overall deficit.

But Alan Pardew's side left themselves with too much to do as Eduardo Salvio's 90th-minute strike sealed Benfica's progress into the last four.

Newcastle had goalkeeper Tim Krul to thank for keeping them in the tie early on as Andre Almeida's powerful cross from the right was flicked on by Lima, only for Krul to make an instinctive save with his foot.

Benfica should have gone ahead on the half-hour mark when Krul misjudged an attempt to clear the ball, with Lima pulling it back to Nicolas Gaitan to slot home, only for Massadio Haidara to hack the ball away on the goal-line.

Jorge Jesus' side continued to exert pressure on the home goal as Krul made a smart save from Enzo Perez's well struck volley.

Newcastle responded as Jonas Gutierrez went on a mazy run before his dangerous cross was cleared by Luisao, while Cisse began to look more ominous up front.

The introduction of Shola Ameobi at the break maintained Newcastle's momentum, but the hosts failed to take advantage of healthy possession as Benfica custodian Artur Moraes was barely forced into a save.

The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa offered Newcastle an extra dimension in attack and they earned a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when Ameobi's cross was headed in from close range by Cisse after a mix-up in the Benfica defence.

The home side continued to apply the pressure but Benfica showed all their know-how and experience to close out the remaining minutes without too much alarm, reducing Newcastle to ambitious long range efforts.

Benfica then sealed the tie when substitute Rodrigo squared for Eduardo Salvio to salvage a draw for the Portuguese giants, who progressed comfortably into the semi-finals.