Rangers draw Benfica in tough last Europa League 16 tie

Rangers draw Benfica in tough last Europa League 16 tie
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Kemar Roofe of Rangers(L) celebrates after scoring their sides second goal during the UEFA Europa League Group D stage match between Rangers and SL Benfica at Ibrox Stadium on November 26, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Already some Rangers fans have proclaimed that Benfica is the ‘best draw we could have got’.

You know, Portugal’s best team, top of the table in Primera Liga, current champions, and one of Europe’s most in-form teams.

Yeah that’ll be easy.

According to transfermarkt their squad is worth around £350M and most of the players are £10M up to £45M.

Rangers’ most valuable player is Fabio Silva at current value of £10M (on the same site) and he’s not even ours. Squad total is around £100M.

So despite the improvement Philippe Clement has overseen, we admit our expectations for this one aren’t sky high.

There’s the optimism of supporters saying ‘I fancy us to take anyone’ but that’s just football support, and rightly so. In reality, Rangers would struggle badly against Liverpool, Roma, Benfica, Leverkusen and Milan, to name just five of the goliaths in this competition.

Real Betis? They’re 7th in Spain, and we did incredibly well to overcome them twice. But the stuff we face now really is on a different level.

Benfica are a top class team, and while they dropped down from the Champions League, having had a horrible campaign, they still got third and they will be massively far from mugs.

They top Portugal on merit, in arguably Europe’s 6th league, along with Holland, so any fans expecting an easy ride are in for a rude awakening.

There is of course the issue of the squad – no Leon Balogun, no Oscar Cortes, and a host of injuries still in the list.

It really isn’t a good configuration of the group, both Michael Beale and UEFA’s ridiculous 3-change rule the cause.

So we go up against a very good team indeed, without being able to utilitise the best of our squad.

Mind you, a defence with Ben Davies in it secured the last 16 and top of the table in the first place, so maybe anything is possible.

We follow on.

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