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Benfica vs Rangers: Home advantage key for the Eagles
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Aaron Ashley
Roger Schmidt's Benfica are a tough team to beat on their own patch
Roger Schmidt's Benfica are a tough team to beat on their own patch

- Benfica are unbeaten in 15 home games in all competitions
- Benfica have scored 22 goals in their last six home league matches
- Recommended bet:
Benfica to win & over 2.5 goals

Rangers’ reward for topping their Europa League group is a last-16 tie with Benfica and the Glasgow giants should be bracing themselves for a stern test.

The Gers tend to raise their game in Europe but they make Thursday’s trip to Lisbon on the back of Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home to Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership.

Benfica are also in need of producing a better performance, having followed up their 2-1 defeat at fierce rivals Sporting in the opening leg of their Taca de Portugal semi-final with Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing at Porto.

However, Roger Schmidt’s side are a completely different proposition at the Estadio da Luz, where they defeated Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse 2-1 in the play-off round to set up this two-legged encounter with Rangers.

Team news

Benfica left-back Juan Bernat has been sidelined since October while right-back Alexander Bah is a serious doubt after missing their latest defeat to Porto. However, they are the only two injury concerns for the Portuguese hosts.

Things are a little more intense for Rangers, who saw highly-rated forward Ross McCausland taken off with a serious injury in Saturday's reverse to Motherwell.

Abdallah Sima, Danilo, Kieran Dowell, Rabbi Matondo, Oscar Cortes and Todd Cantwell remain in the treatment room while Tom Lawrence, Ryan Jack and Kemar Roofe face late fitness tests.

The stats

Benfica have suffered back-to-back defeats but they are pretty formidable at home, where they are unbeaten in 15 matches.

The Eagles have scored at least three goals in eight of their last 12 home outings and have racked up 22 goals from their last six league fixtures in Lisbon.

Six of Benfica's last seven Europa League home matches have featured over 2.5 goals.

Rangers have won only two of their last 13 away games in the Europa League.

Both teams have scored in six of Rangers' last eight Europa League matches.

These two were housed in the same Europa League group in the 2020-21 campaign and both meetings ended in score draws.

Philippe Clement's Rangers topped their Europa League group
Philippe Clement's Rangers topped their Europa League group


Home advantage tends to be a huge aid in European competition and Benfica, having gone 15 matches unbeaten at their Lisbon fortress, are fancied to claim a first-leg lead.

The Eagles started this season in the Champions League and, while things were far from plain-sailing in Europe’s elite competition, their 3-3 draw with last season’s runners-up Inter Milan is evidence of what they are capable of.

At home, Benfica tend to score freely — they have netted three or more in eight of their last 12 fixtures on their own patch — and Rangers must prepare for a hostile atmosphere.

Rangers may have won at Real Betis in an away group assignment but they were also beaten 2-1 at Aris Limassol and held to a draw at Sparta Prague.

In fact, the Gers have won only two of their last 13 away matches in this competition and, while they may be able to create some goalscoring chances, keeping this Benfica side at bay looks beyond them.

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