SOCCER UPDATESS – Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has very few injury problems to contend with ahead of the visit of Newcastle United in the Europa League on Thursday.

Argentina international attacker Eduardo Salvio (knee) is expected to miss out, while wholesale changes are not predicted following the side’s impressive 6-1 win over Rio Ave at the weekend.

Brazilian striker Lima would have been a likely candidate to make way for former Real Madrid and Bolton man Rodrigo, but he may well retain his place after scoring a hat-trick on Saturday.

Alan Pardew has a considerable number of fitness worries, but the returns of Davide Santon and Tim Krul will be boosts.

Massadio Haidara, Cheikh Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini could potentially be in contention for at least a place on the bench, but they remain doubts.

Ryan Taylor (knee) has joined up with the squad in Lisbon to train, but will definitely not be involved, while Haris Vuckic (knee), Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring) and Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) will also be unavailable.


  • So far this season, Benfica have scored 102 goals in all competitions.
  • The Eagles have not lost at home in the Europa League since December 2008 when they were defeated by Metalist.
  • Jesus’ team are on a run of four consecutive wins in the competition.
  • Benfica’s last five quarter-finals with English opposition have resulted in elimination.
  • Newcastle have beaten Metalist Kharkiv and Anzhi Makhachkala in the knockout stages so far.
  • Pardew’s side have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four matches in this competition.
  • However, the Magpies have only managed two away wins all season.
  • Shola Ameobi is Newcastle’s top scorer in the Europa League with three goals in eight matches.