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Rangers vs Benfica predictions: Expect fast start from hosts at Ibrox
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James Milton
Philippe Clement will hope to see Rangers make the most of home advantage against Benfica on Thursday evening.
Philippe Clement will hope to see Rangers make the most of home advantage against Benfica on Thursday evening.

- Rangers have scored in the first 10 minutes in four of last five games at Ibrox
- There have been over 3.5 goals in six of Benfica's last nine matches
- Recommended bet:
Rangers to win 1st Half

The two Europa League meetings between Benfica and Rangers in the 2020-21 group stage ended 3-3 and 2-2 and the first leg of their last-16 tie delivered more entertainment in Lisbon last week.

Rangers, well on their way to a domestic treble, took an early lead through Tom Lawrence, but Benfica came from behind twice to claim a 2-2 draw.

The Portuguese side remain favourites to progress to the quarter-finals. However, they were thumped 5-0 by Primeira Liga rivals Porto earlier this month so Rangers should be confident of causing problems for the visiting defence.

Team news

Rangers are still missing the injured Ryan Jack, Danilo, Abdallah Sima, Kieran Dowell, Oscar Cortes and Scott Wright but Todd Cantwell has returned to training.

First-leg goalscorer Dujon Sterling and Ross McCausland are doubts so Rabbi Matondo could start on the right wing. Benfica's only injury absentee is likely to be full-back Juan Bernat.

Alexander Bah is fit to start at right-back and striker Leonardo may get the nod over Arthur Cabral.

The stats

Rangers have scored 17 goals in their last eight Europa League home matches and have netted in the first 10 minutes in four of their last five games at Ibrox.

Both teams have scored in seven of Rangers' last nine Europa League matches.

Benfica have conceded 10 goals in their last four games in all competitions and there have been over 3.5 goals in six of their last nine matches.

The three previous meetings between these clubs ended 3-3, 2-2 and 2-2.


There was an element of fortune about both of Benfica's goals in the first leg.

World Cup winner Angel Di Maria converted a contentious penalty in first-half stoppage time and Connor Goldson nodded past his own goalkeeper in the 67th minute.

Despite Di Maria's equaliser, Rangers restored their lead before the break when Dujon Sterling scored in the fifth minute of added time and the Gers are worth backing to be ahead at half-time again.

They suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat to Motherwell in their last Premiership game at Ibrox, but in their four previous home matches they scored in the second, fifth, 10th and seventh minutes.

With a raucous home crowd cheering them on, the Gers should be backed to blast out of the traps and they have broken the deadlock in the seventh minute in their last two clashes with Benfica.

Visiting coach Roger Schmidt is an attack-minded manager, so an open second leg is expected.

His side have struggled in the early stages of recent matches, however, conceding the first goal in the 22nd, seventh, 20th and ninth minutes of their last four outings.

They had a tough Champions League campaign before Christmas, including an away defeat to Real Sociedad, who led 3-0 inside 21 minutes and they may find themselves in trouble early on at Ibrox.

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