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Newcastle v Benfica: Four Changes

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor


Alan Pardew has made four changes to his Newcastle United starting line-up for Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg tie against Benfica at St. James' Park (8.05pm).

The Magpies are boosted by the return from injury of Massadio Haidara, who was stretchered off at Wigan last month, while there are also places for Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana and Mike Williamson, the latter of who made his last appearance midway through January.

Missing out are Steven Taylor, Davide Santon, Sylvain Marveaux and Yoan Gouffran.

United are 3-1 down from the first leg in Lisbon seven days ago, and will line up in a 4-4-1-1 formation for this crucial clash.

Goalkeeper Tim Krul will line up behind a back four of Danny Simpson, Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Haidara.

In midfield, Bigirimana will be deployed on the right-hand side of a quarter, with Jonas Gutierrez on the opposite flank, and Anita and stand-in skipper Yohan Cabaye through the middle.

Up front, Moussa Sissoko will play just behind lone front man Papiss Cisse, who has now scored 12 goals this season.

On the substitutes bench there is a place for Hatem Ben Arfa, who has been sidelined for the last five weeks with a hamstring injury.

And the French international joins a strong clutch of players among the replacements, including Dan Gosling, James PerchSylvain Marveaux and Shola Ameobi.


Newcastle United (4-4-1-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara; Gael Bigirimana, Yohan Cabaye (c), Vurnon Anita, Jonas Gutierrez; Moussa Sissoko; Papiss Cisse

Substitutes: Rob Elliot, Dan Gosling, James Perch, Sylvain Marveaux, Hatem Ben Arfa, Adam Campbell, Shola Ameobi


Benfica (4-3-3): Artur; Andre Almeida, Luisao (c), Ezequiel Garay, Melgarejo; Eduardo Salvio, Nemanja Matic, Enzo Perez; Ola John, Lima, Nicolas Gaitan

Substitutes: Paulo Lopes, Jardel, Maxi Pereira, Pablo Aimar, Andre Gomes, Rodrigo, Oscar Cardozo


Referee: Ivan Bebek (Croatia)