The Gers led 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining courtesy of goals in either half from Scott Arfield and Kemar Roofe, but the Portuguese giants rallied and secured a point through a James Tavernier own goal and a fine strike from substitute, Pizzi.
It was a disappointing end to the match for Steven Gerrard’s side, especially as Standard Liege’s win over Lech Poznan in the group’s other game meant that three points would have been enough to secure a place in the Round of 32 with two games to spare.
However, Rangers are still very well placed in the group and there are plenty of positives to take away.
Following the game, Sainty – who has previously tweeted about the club following ties against Portuguese opponents – congratulated Rangers on the level of their performance in both Thursday night’s match and in their 3-3 draw against the same opposition in Lisbon three weeks ago.
“Congratulations Rangers,” he wrote on Twitter. “Tremendous game.”
“You matched Benfica, one of Europe’s great football clubs, over two legs. In fact, you were unlucky not to win both.”
— Chris Sainty (@ChrisSaintyUK) November 26, 2020
After last night’s results, Rangers know that three points in next week’s home fixture against Standard Liege will be enough to guarantee progression to the knockout stages.
Yet, they will once again have a safety net if things don’t go to plan, with an away match against Lech Poznan also still to come.