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Euro press: Rangers player ratings v Benfica – Fabio Silva gets 7/10

Rangers continued their impressive form in Europe after managing a 2-2 draw against Benfica away from Ibrox on Thursday night (7 March). 

The Gers will hope that the Ibrox factor will help them get over the line in the leg of the Round of 16 Europa League tie.

Philippe Clement will be happy with the overall performance of his players, but he was fuming with the penalty decision that went against them. John Souttar headed the ball away but it struck his own arm and after VAR intervention, the penalty was awarded.

Tom Lawrence gave Rangers the early inside eight minutes with an inch-perfect header. In the second half, Fabio Silva played a ball in from the left and Dujon Sterling slammed home to score his first goal for the club.

Portuguese newspaper O Jogo (printed edition, page 3) has given the player ratings for both teams. Silva, 21, has the highest rating with 7/10 along with Mohamed Diomande.

However, they were left far from impressed with the performance of Rangers defenders. Three Gers defenders – Souttar, Connor Goldson, and James Tavernier have received 4/10.

Advantage Rangers – Ibrox factor

While Benfica applied loads of pressure in the second half, Rangers dealt with it convincingly. Apart from one poor individual error from Goldson, Rangers hardly put any foot wrong.

It would have been a staggering win for the Bears. In the end, an unavoidable own goal and a controversial penalty prevented them from picking up a precious win.

Benfica had never lost a home Europa League tie at home, but Rangers should have ended that record. Jack Butland was outstanding once again, and Gareth Southgate must take notice of his heroics. The goalkeeper deserves to be in the England squad for the Euros.

Silva came close to scoring towards the end but his effort was well saved. Rangers will feel they can beat any side at Ibrox, and it feels like they have an edge over Benfica in the second leg.

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