Newcastle v Benfica: will The Eagles soar against The Toon?
Newcastle face an uphill task if they’re to progress to the semi finals of the Europa League this season, and with the hosts having lost five of six previous ties against Portuguese opposition, history suggests that the home side’s campaign will end prematurely once more.
Benfica’s form this season in Europe has been ominous with Bayer Leverkusen and Bordeaux already victims to a Jorge Jesus’ side who have won all five of their matches since dropping out of the Champions League group stages.
Only two clubs have ever recovered a two-goal first-leg deficit in the Europa League knockout phase – Fulham against Juventus in the 2009/10 season and FC Steaua Bucureşt against Ajax earlier this campaign.
With this in mind, Newcastle head in to the second leg at St James’ Park as 5/1 shots to move a step closer to picking their first major silverware since winning the precursor to the UEFA Cup – The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – in 1969.
Papiss Cissé’s away goal could be crucial, with a Newcastle 2-0 correct score bet valued at 11/1 at present – a result that would see the home side progress on away goals, but if the unexpected is to happen then Alan Pardew’s men will have to halt a team who have scored at least once in every tie.
In addition to their all-round threat the Portuguese league leaders boast four-goal Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo amongst their main targets, with the giant striker ably assisted by Brazilian striker Lima. The South American attackers are priced at 9/2 and 11/2 respectively to open the scoring on Tyneside.
Punters looking for a little more value in the any time goalscorer market should look to the giant Benfica defenders with Jardel and Memanja Matic already recording strikes from set pieces in the competition and are priced at 14/1 and 7/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing