By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Cisse 71)
Benfica 1 (Salvio 90)
(Benfica win 4-2 on aggregate)
Newcastle United exited the Europa League at the quarter-final stage, after drawing 1-1 with Benfica in their second leg tie on Thursday night.
Papiss Cisse's second half header set up a grandstand finish on a thrilling evening's entertainment at St. James Park, with the Magpies needing just one more to progress on away goals.
However, Salvio struck in stoppage-time to secure a draw and, with it, a 4-2 aggregate victory.
But Alan Pardew's side were a different prospect after the break, aided by three attacking substitutions. Cisse nodded in Shola Ameobi's right-wing cross with 19 minutes remaining but they were unable to find a second goal before Salvio ended any semi-final hopes.
United had goalkeeper Krul to thank for keeping them in the contest in the early stages.
With less than three minutes on the clock, Lima met Andre Almeida's low right-wing delivery with a brilliant backheel, only to be denied by the Dutch stopper at point-blank range.
And almost immediately Krul had to claw away an overhit cross from Melgarejo which looked to be sneaking in.
It was end-to-end stuff and Papiss Cisse was inches away from connecting with dangerous through balls on a couple of occasions, as both sides had plenty of endeavour but with little end product.
However, the visitors' pace was always going to make them dangerous on the break and so it proved on 28 minutes when Lima raced on to a long ball down the left.
Arriving at the same time as Krul, the forward pounced when United's keeper had to release his grasp of the ball as he slid out of the area. Lima squared to Gaitan but Haidara was on hand to clear the resulting strike off the goalline.
Salvio was inches away from breaking the deadlock soon after, heading an Ola John delivery agonisingly wide after sneaking in at the far post, while Krul got down well to smother Enzo Perez's dipping half-volley.
Newcastle's first shot of the evening came three minutes before half-time. Moussa Sissoko was found in space down the left and he drove forward before finding Bigirimana 20 yards out.
The young midfielder tried his luck first time but, on his left-foot, could only send a tame effort straight at visiting goalkeeper Artur.
That seemed to spark the hosts into life and they had the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of half-time, Cisse turning home Bigirimana's cross at the far post, only to see the assistant referee's flag cut short his celebrations.
Replacing Bigirimana, the big front man was soon in the thick of the action, forcing Artur to tip a low, deflected shot from a very tight angle behind for a corner.
Minutes later, Lima should have done better but fired over the top when picked out following a mazy run by Gaitan. However, United went straight up the other end and Cabaye curled a trademark free-kick over the wall but also over the bar.
Ben Arfa had been sidelined for the last five weeks with a hamstring injury but instantly forced a corner as Benfica struggled to properly deal with a driven through ball.
On 66 minutes Cisse again netted, but again was denied a vital goal by an offside flag. This time, Mike Williamson'slofted ball forward was flicked on by Ameobi but Cisse had just strayed the wrong side of the visitors' defence when he prodded home.
Pardew sent on Sylvain Marveaux for this third and final change of the evening - another bold, attacking move.
And he was rewarded in the 71st minute as Cisse finally made it third time lucky in getting a goal to stand.
Ben Arfa took advantage of hesitation down the Benfica left, and when Ameobi prodded the ball across the face of goal, Cisse was on hand to nod home from a couple of yards.
The hosts were in the ascendency. Ameobi slipped as he pulled the trigger from the edge of the area, while Marveaux was inches away from connecting with a glorious, disguised Ben Arfa pass.
And French maestro Ben Arfa almost conjured up a brilliant second in the final minute, picking the ball up wide on the right, easing inside past his marker but sending a fierce, left-footed drive just over the top.
As the clock ticked into four minutes of added-on time, Artur did well to keep hold of a Cabaye free-kick, and Benfica responded immediately with an equaliser which secured their passage to the semi-finals.
The visitors broke at pace and Salvio provided a clinical finish from inside the six-yard box to break United hearts.
Newcastle United (4-4-1-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara (Sylvain Marveaux 67); Gael Bigirimana (Shola Ameobi 46), Yohan Cabaye (c), Vurnon Anita (Hatem Ben Arfa 63), Jonas Gutierrez; Moussa Sissoko; Papiss Cisse
Benfica (4-3-3): Artur; Andre Almeida, Luisao (c), Ezequiel Garay, Melgarejo; Enzo Perez, Nemanja Matic, Nicolas Gaitan (Jardel 90); Eduardo Salvio, Lima (Oscar Cardozo 72), Ola John (Rodrigo 76)
Subs not used: Paulo Lopes, Maxi Pereira, Pablo Aimar, Andre Gomes
Referee: Ivan Bebek (Croatia)
Bookings: Newcastle - Cisse (67), Cabaye (70), Yanga-Mbiwa (81), Williamson (83); Benfica - Perez (31), Artur (31), Almeida (49)
Attendance: 52,157 (1,759 Benfica)