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Classy Benfica make Pardew eat his words

Benfica felt they had been insulted by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew when he said they were not as good as the best teams in the Premier League, and they made sure he knew it with an impressive victory.

Pardew's fairly innocuous comment that Benfica would be a "top eight or 10 side" in England infuriated their hosts who are not short on self-confidence with 'The Record' newspaper printing a front page with the peculiar Portuguese insult "Estas Feito O Bife" – "you are burned steak" – in response.

Newcastle certainly felt the heat, but with an away goal, this tie is not finished. Nevertheless, despite taking the lead and hitting the post twice, it was a tough evening for the Magpies, who threw the game away in the second half.

Newcastle looked dangerous going forward and they took the lead when a perfectly weighted pass from Danny Simpson sent Moussa Sissoko in behind the defence. Papiss Cisse sprinted up the middle and when Sissoko delivered a lovely low cross he sidefooted home.

Benfica's crowd roared their delight when Rodrigo put them level after Tim Krul could only palm Oscar Cardoza's shot into his path.

Newcastle's goalkeeper did far better moments later with a fine double save, but the Portuguese league leaders were starting to dominate.

Pardew's side were being over-run in midfield, but they held on until half-time with the scores level.

Again the visitors started strongly, Cisse hitting the post for a second time.

Cardoza should have put Benfica in front when he was picked out by Rodrigo, but off balance, the Paraguayan toe-poked wide with the goal at his mercy. It was a big let-off, but Newcastle's Davide Santon ensured it did not matter.

The Italian's form has deserted him since the turn of the year and he inexplicably passed the ball straight to substitute Lima, who rounded Krul and scored.

Five minutes later it was Steven Taylor's turn to press the self-destruct button, needlessly handling in the area and Cardoza scored from the spot, despite having to take the penalty twice. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent