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Benfica vs Rangers
Time – UK: 05.55 pm; India: 11.25 pm (Thursday)
Venue- Estadio da Luz
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano
A delayed start to the 2020/21 European season means that there is a rush to see through the group stages. In accordance with that, teams in both the Champions League and the Europa League will be playing their third game in as many weeks.
The Portuguese giants have also won their opening two games and therefore, the third game is going to be crucial for both teams as they look to earn the bragging rights in Group D.
So without further ado, let us preview the fixture which could well be one of the biggest matches of Matchday 03.
Benfica vs Rangers: Recent form
Benfica, who will be eager to continue with their winning run in the Europa League, lost 3-0 away from home against Boavista in their last league game.
Rangers, on the other hand, are on a dream run both in Europe as well as in Scotland. They are on a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions, including two wins in the group stages of the Europa League.
The Gers won their last last match – a Scottish Premiership fixture – 1-0 against Kilmarnock, courtesy of a 19th minute James Tavernier penalty.
Benfica vs Rangers: Head to head
The two sides have never met each other before in a major European competition and hence, it will be uncharted territory for both teams.
However, both Benfica and Rangers’ record against Scottish and Portuguese teams respectively are impressive. While the Glasgow giants are unbeaten in 11 games against Portuguese opponents, Benfica have been victorious in five matches against Scottish outfits.
Benfica vs Rangers: Team news
The home side will have three key defensive players missing from the match. Centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo has been missing in action since the end of October through Achilles tendon problems.
Full-backs Andre Almeida and Alejandro Grimaldo are the two other players also recovering from injuries.
Steven Gerrard in an interview with Rangers’ official channel said that his team have been forced to endure a tough week because of the irresponsible behaviour of two players – Jordan Jones and George Edmundson.
The pair flouted coronavirus regulations and attended a party on Sunday night, following which they were suspended by the club.
Apart from that, defender Nikola Katic remains the only long-term injury absentee.
Benfica vs Rangers: Predicted line-up
Benfica (4-4-2): OdysseasVlachodimos; Gilberto, Nicolas Otamendi, Jan Vertonghen, Nuno Tavares; Pizzi, Gabriel Pires, Adel Taarabt, Everton Soares; Luca Waldschmidt, Darwin Nunez
Rangers (4-2-3-1): Callum McGregor; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic; Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield; Cedric Itten, Glen Kamara, Ryan Kent; Alfredo Morelos
Benfica vs Rangers: Where to watch
The game will be shown live on BT Sport 3 for UK-based fans. For US fans it will be shown on CBS All Access. Fubo app will be streaming the match live in the US.
Benfica vs Rangers: Prediction
With the kind of form Rangers have been in recently, it is difficult to imagine them losing the game, in spite of it being away from home. Steven Gerrard’s side are still unbeaten this season and will do their best to make it stay that way.
Benfica, on the other hand, have been in great form in the Europa League. They have scored an impressive seven goals in the two matches they have played in Europe and in spite of losing in the domestic league last weekend, the Portuguese giants will be eager not to see a repeat of that against Rangers.
Benfica vs Rangers predicted scoreline: 0-0