Rangers must overturn a big Benfica hoodoo at Ibrox

Rangers must overturn a big Benfica hoodoo at Ibrox
Benfica's Argentinian forward #11 Angel Di Maria reacts after Rangers's team scored during the UEFA Europa League last 16 first leg football match between SL Benfica and Glasgow Rangers at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on March 7, 2024. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Another European epic, and now that’s three times Benfica have scraped a draw against Rangers having trailed.

It’s a match up which seems to be combustible, and brings out the very worst in Benfica if some of their antics were anything to go by.

Angel Di Maria’s conduct was deplorable, and the all-round behaviour was generally poor, because this was a side under attack, from their fans, the media, you name it.

And when Tom Lawrence found an opening goal, the atmosphere in the ground went toxic fast.

It was an ebb and flow match, filled with twists and turns, and overall 2-2 probably was a fair result but Rangers will absolutely know they had the winning of this one.

There’s no point torturing one’s self over what ifs, but equally that Benfica could only scrape a draw with a debatable penalty and an own goal shows just how many of their feathers Rangers ruffled last night.

There is no doubt Rangers have the absolute Midas Touch in the Europa League, the last time we were in it we got to the final – we did fall short that night but still could (and should) have won it had fortune favoured us. It didn’t.

And once again we’re on the path to incredible, with Benfica, expected to roll us over, struggling once more to beat us.

But it does mean Rangers will have to finally break this Lisbon hoodoo and actually beat this lot for the first time in recent match ups to do so.

Benfica seem to have some Indian sign which keeps them ‘safe’ and no matter how strong Rangers are or how well we play against them or even how many goals we score, they always hit back and get the draw.

We need to overcome that in a week.

It already screams of a penalty shoot out.

But that’s not the immediate concern, the immediate concern is Hibs and the cup.

It never rains but it pours.

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