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Mar 15, 2013

Pardew happy to face Benfica

Alan Pardew said he was happy his Newcastle United side were paired with Benfica in Friday's Europa League quarter-final draw.

• Blog: Cisse strike sees off Anzhi

Newcastle will travel to the Estadio da Luz on April 4 before hosting Benfica a week later in the return leg, and Pardew is upbeat about the prospect of taking on the Portuguese league leaders.

"Obviously we're really pleased with the draw," Pardew told the club's official website. "The second leg being at home gives us perhaps a slight advantage.

"For our fans, Portugal is accessible for them and they'll look forward to that. Lisbon is a fantastic city - I bet they're online now getting their flights. I hope so."

Benfica, two-time champions of Europe in the 1960s, are among the favourites for the competition and Pardew added: "They're top of the league, they're going well. It's a fantastic history, perhaps even greater than our own."

Newcastle had to see off big-spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala to book their place in the quarter-finals and Sylvain Marveaux feels it shows the quality the club has.

"Everyone wanted this win," he said. "It's great to play with other top clubs. We proved that we are a good side because it is the quarter finals, but we can do better."

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