Newcastle are one of the three English teams remaining in the Europa league after the quarter-final draw was made. The north-east club have been paired against the Portuguese club, Benfica, in this round of the competition.
After the draw was made, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said that he was delighted at the draw. The first leg will be away from home for Newcastle, which gives them a good advantage according to Pardew. Newcastle will be focusing entirely on the European competitions this season after managing to achieve a relative position of safety in the league.
The club are three points above the drop zone with eight matches remaining in the campaign. After having not seen in European football for the last couple of years, Newcastle fans have been extremely delighted at the prospect of seeing their club in the semifinals of a major competition. In order to do so, Newcastle must get past one of the strongest teams left in the competition in the form of Benfica. The Portuguese club are undefeated in their league campaign, while they are fighting out for the title with arch rivals FC Porto.
Even though they do not represent an easy opposition, Pardew reckons that his team have what it takes to get past the Portuguese club in the quarter-finals.
“It’s a great draw for us. The Estadio da Luz is a great venue. I’ve been there and it’s a fantastic stadium. Importantly, we are at home in the second-leg and that will give us an advantage. I’m sure we will have a full house for that. After what the stadium was like (Thursday) night, I know it will be another brilliant atmosphere, and let’s hope we can bring a result back from Benfica in the first leg,” said Pardew after the draw was made for the quarter-finals.