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Nov 26, 2020 at 8pm UK
Arfield (7'), Roofe (69')
Kamara (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Tavernier (78' og.), Pizzi (81')
Gabriel (16'), Chiquinho (42'), Vertonghen (83')

Preview: Rangers vs. Benfica - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Rangers vs. Benfica - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Rangers and Benfica, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Rangers host Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday night for the first time, after a 3-3 draw in Lisbon three weeks ago which was the only previous meeting between the two sides.

The Gers remain unbeaten in their 2020-21 campaign after 22 matches, while Benfica have lost their last two league games, conceding six goals in the process.

Match preview

Rangers continued to impress after cruising to a 4-0 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.

Victory at Ibrox keeps up their perfect record at home after 10 matches in all competitions, scoring 31 goals and conceding just one - against Galatasaray in October.

Rangers are also unbeaten in all seven of their Europa League group stage home matches over the past three seasons – winning four and drawing the other three – with the Gers keeping five clean sheets and shipping just two goals in those games.

Steven Gerrard's side have only faced two shots on target in the Europa League this term which is fewer than any other side, although they conceded with both of them against Benfica last time out, in addition to an unfortunate own goal by Connor Goldson.

The Gers will be wary of the threat that Benfica will pose, after an entertaining 3-3 in Lisbon at the beginning of November saw the Eagles score as many goals past Rangers as the Scottish side have conceded in 15 league games this season.

Rangers, who are unbeaten in 12 matches against Portuguese opposition, could move three points clear at the top of Group D and secure their qualification to the knockout stages.

Benfica have looked vulnerable in recent weeks after only winning one of their last four matches in all competitions.

The 3-3 draw with Rangers was sandwiched in between a 3-0 defeat to Boavista and a 3-2 home loss to Braga in the Primeira Liga.

Jorge Jesus's side have looked stronger in the Europa League, as they have beaten Lech Poznan and Standard Liege, scoring a total of 10 goals from their opening three matches.

Benfica's 10 goals from 38 shots have been converted at a rate of 26.3%, the best conversion rate of any side in this season's Europa League.

The Portuguese giants, who have failed to score in their last four away games against Scottish sides – losing three and drawing once, all against Celtic – are likely to find it difficult once again against such an in-form Rangers outfit.

Victory on Thursday night would see the Eagles move three points above Rangers at the top of Group D and confirm their place in the last 32 of the competition.

Rangers Europa League form: WWD
Rangers form (all competitions): WWWDWW

Benfica Europa League form: WWD
Benfica form (all competitions): WWLDLW

Team News

Steven Gerrard has a relatively settled squad but there are several places up for grabs in midfield and attack.

Glen Kamara could come into the side and replace Joe Aribo, while Steven Davies, who started against Benfica last time out, may drop to the bench.

Kemar Roofe, who has scored three goals in the last two games, is hoping to start up front with Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent, although Ianis Hagi could be given the nod instead.

Defender Leon Balogun could be favoured once again over Filip Helander after starting the previous two matches.

Former Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi is suspended for Benfica after his red card in the reverse fixture. Experienced defender Jardel is likely to come in as a result.

Midfielder Julian Weigl and forward Darwin Nunez will also miss the trip to Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus last week.

Jean-Clair Todibo (Achilles tendon), Andre Almeida (cruciate ligament rupture), Nuno Tavares (hip) and Pedrinho (foot problem) are all out injured for the visitors.

Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic; Arfield, Jack, Kamara; Hagi, Morelos, Kent

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Goncalves, Jardel, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Rafa, Pires, Taarabt, Everton; Pizzi; Seferovic

We say: Rangers 2-1 Benfica

Rangers, who have scored 15 goals in their last three matches in all competitions, are oozing confidence heading into Thursday night's match with Benfica and could come out on top against a Portuguese side struggling to find consistency.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data

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