Rabbi Matondo starts: predicted Rangers XI v Benfica

Rabbi Matondo starts: predicted Rangers XI v Benfica
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 16: Rabbi Matondo celebrates with James Tavernier after scoring the opening goal during the friendly match match between Rangers and FC Copenhagen at Ibrox Stadium on January 16, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So the much-hyped second leg is upon us now, Thursday evening seeing either Rangers or indeed Benfica navigate their way to the quarter final of the Europa League.

Rangers, sadly, do not have our injuries to seek, so picking a starting XI, as is the case lately, isn’t overly tough.

Ibrox Noise brings you our likely selection to take the Govan field at the unnatural Europa League time of a quarter to 6 tonight.

In goals, 99% certain England call-up Jack Butland, obviously.

Defence will be the same as the first leg – Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar and Ridvan. The only other two options in there are Davies and Barisic, and there’s no reason at all to change the back four in Europe, aside injury.

Midfield is likely to be Lundstram and Diomande again, we can’t see Clement changing that either.

Attacking midfield is a bit more limited, but it’ll be Silva left Lawrence middle and Matondo right.

Up front Dessers.

Unfortunately the playing pool is very very limited, a combination of Michael Beale, UEFA restrictions and injuries.

So your Ibrox Noise XI:

Butland; Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar, Ridvan; Lundstram, Diomande; Matondo, Lawrence, Silva; Dessers

The only options we have aside the XI we’ve just picked are indeed Davies, Barisic, Raskin, and a fit-again Cantwell who’s not ready to start. Ditto Roofe who can give us 20 minutes from the bench tops.

McCausland is a massive doubt for this one, and we understand Scott Wright remains unavailable.

So yes, sadly, Clement’s hands are massively tied yet again, but at least for this one he’ll have the Ibrox crowd as the badly-needed 12th man.

Despite Rangers’ brilliance in the Europa League and Clement’s brilliance for getting something from nothing, this will be a very tough evening, especially without Dujon Sterling.

Can we do it?

Over to you Rangers.

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