Rangers will have been left with a sense of deja vu after throwing away a two-goal lead against Benfica in the Europa League to come away with a 2-2 at Ibrox.

After going 2-0 up through Scott Arfield and Kemar Roofe, a quick-fire double from Pizzi left the Gers disappointed to have only come away with a point against the Portuguese giants.

There were two changes to the side that thrashed Aberdeen as Ryan Jack and Joe Aribo missed out and Steven Davis and Glen Kamara came back into the starting XI.

It only took seven minutes for Rangers to get themselves in front when Scott Arfield finally fired the ball home after Roofe was denied by an excellent save before Tavernier crashed a header off the bar.

The ball eventually fell for Arfield and he volleyed home and gave the Light Blues an early lead and a big boost after Benfica started brightly.

Rangers v SL Benfica: Group D - UEFA Europa League

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

After going a goal down, Benfica saw plenty of the ball without ever really making Allan McGregor work as the Light Blues defence looked assured against Jorge Jesus’ side.

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Gerrard’s men had to put a power of work in to close down the spaces created by Benfica, with Arfield, Davis and Kamara popping up everywhere to break up Benfica attacks.

The Gers had Leon Balogun to thank just before the break when the Nigerian international made a fantastic tackle to deny Rafa Silva as the striker looked certain to get an effort on goal.

The visitors started the second 45 much like they ended the first but, for all of their posession of the ball, they struggled to register a shot on goal.

Defensively, Rangers looked pretty comfortable as the game entered the final thirty minutes and Gerrard will have been happy with the way his side were restricting the Portuguese giants to largely playing in front of them.

FBL-EUR-C3-RANGERS-BENFICA

(Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Rangers had a massive shout for a penalty when Kemar Roofe broke forward and saw his cross clearly handled by Grimaldo but the linesman somehow failed to spot it, despite being right in front of him.

Just minutes later, it was 2-0 as Roofe fired home an emphatic finish to round off an excellent move involving Davis and Barisic before the former Leeds star rifled the ball home into the top corner.

With 13 minutes left, Benfica became the first side to score at Ibrox this season and set up a nervy finale as Pizzi poked the ball home before grabbing a second goal shortly after.

After Standard Liege beat Lech Poznan 2-1, a win would have guaranteed the Gers’ place in the next round and Gerrard will be hoping his side aren’t left to count the cost.

 

Here’s how Steven Gerrard’s side performed against the Portuguese giants:

Allan McGregor – 6

Barely tested in the opening 45. Kicking let him down on a few occasions as he shanked it into the stand. Couldn’t do much at the goal.

James Tavernier – 6

Slack pass early on almost gifted Benfica an equaliser. Plenty of hard work from the skipper but not much came off for him going forward. Probably his worst performance this season – although he was far from terrible.

Connor Goldson – 7

Mopped up at the back as Benfica chased an equaliser. Looks at complete ease at this level and continues to show why Gerrard has barely played a game without him in the side. Blotted his copybook a little in the final 10 minutes as Benfica scored twice.

Leon Balogun – 7

Fantastic last-ditch tackle near half time to deny Rafa Silva when the striker created a yard of space to shoot. Looked comfortable through as he put in a fantastic performance. Like Goldson, should have done more to help see the game out.

Borna Barisic – 7

Didn’t get forward as much as usual but showed he is every bit as capable defensively as he is in attack. The Rangers backline look unshakeable just now as they frustrated Benfica. When he did get forward, he set up Roofe for the second.

Steven Davis – 7

Northern Irish veteran returned to the side and his experience was vital in midfield as Benfica looked for an equaliser. Showed his class throughout as he looked to get Rangers forward.

Glen Kamara – 7

Kamara was back in the XI and put in a tremendous shift in midfield as Rangers had to be on their toes constantly. Booked in the final ten minutes.

Scott Arfield – 8

Showed great composure to fire the opener home as the Canadian’s excellent recent for continued. Plenty of energy in midfield and always offering an out-ball when the Gers looked to get forward.

Ryan Kent – 8

The winger covered a huge amount of ground as he bombed up and down the flanks. Had to do more defensive work than he usually would in games but never took his foot off the gas.

Kemar Roofe – 7

Partnership with Morelos continues to develop and the striker thought he should have had a penalty when Grimaldo clearly handled the ball right in front of the linesman. Grabbed the second goal just a few minutes later with an emphatic finish.

Alfredo Morelos – 8

The Colombian’s new role looks like it is starting to really click as El Bufalo showed some excellent touches to bring others into the game and cause problems for the Benfica defence. Much more involved in the defensive side of play and continues to build his promising partnership with Roofe.

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