Newcastle is in Lisbon for their Thursday showdown with Portuguese side Benfica in the first leg of the quarterfinals of UEFA's Europa League.
- (Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples)
Newcastle United and manager Alan Pardew will have a tough contest with a Benfica team that is unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions and who also boast an impressive home unbeaten record in European competitions that stretches back to December 2008.
Newcastle is currently considered the underdogs against Benfica after they entered the Europa League. They were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, finishing behind Celtic and Barcelona during the competitions group stage.
If the Magpies are to be successful in their quest to advance, they will have to play better than what they have shown in their most recent matches. Their most recent match saw them humiliated against defending Premier League champions Manchester City, leaving them in 15th place in the league and three points away from relegation.
Benfica and manager Jorge Jesus are entering this match with an entirely different mentality, having won four straight Europa League matches. They are also currently four points clear on the top of their domestic league campaign, in which a league title is almost all but certain.
But, Benfica has lost all five of their previous quarter-finals matches against English clubs, which might be a factor heading into the match.
Jesus has only a few injury problems to contend with ahead of Thursday's match from a team that has scored 102 goals in all competitions this season.
Argentinian striker Eduardo Salvio is expected to miss the match with a knee injury and Brazilian striker Lima is expected to start after scoring a hat trick over the weekend.
Should Jesus decide to give Lima a rest, he would be able to call on former Real Madrid and Bolton striker Rodrigo, who has made an impact since joining the club.
Kick-off for the match is at 3:05 p.m. ET and can be watched online here.