MX23RW : Tuesday, November 24 03:36:54| >> :120:18021:18021:
Nov 5, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
BenficaBenfica
3-3
RangersRangers
Goldson (2' og.), Silva (77'), Nunez (90+1')
Otamendi (19')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Goncalves (24' og.), Kamara (25'), Morelos (51')

Preview: Benfica vs. Rangers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sport Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Benfica and Rangers, including predictions, team news and possible starting lineups.

Despite currently topping their group in the Europa League, Benfica suffered their first league defeat of the season on Monday, losing 3-0 to Boavista - with the Portuguese giants keen to bounce back as they host Rangers on Thursday evening.

However, they will have a tough job on their hands going up against an in-form Rangers side, with Steven Gerrard's men currently the only team unbeaten in Scotland or England's top tier this campaign.


Match preview

Flamengo boss Jorge Jesus pictured in March 2020© Reuters

Benfica's shock defeat against Boavista earlier this week means they currently sit second in the Primeira Liga, just one point behind leaders Sporting Lisbon.

The Eagles thought they were ahead after just 10 minutes when a curled shot by Darwin Nunez hit the back of the net. However, the effort was later disallowed for offside by VAR.

Matters only got worse for the visitors after that, with former Manchester United man Angel Gomes converting a penalty in the 18th minute, before Alberth Elis scored the second in the latter stages of the first half.

Yanis Hamache then got the third, resulting in a rather miserable evening for Jorge Jesus's team, with the Portuguese coach unable to produce a comeback, despite making three half-time substitutions.

However, their run in the Europa League during the 2020-21 campaign has been positive so far, claiming a win against Standard Liege and Lech Poznan as they sit at the top of Group D.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard pictured on September 24, 2020© Reuters

Rangers, on the other hand, currently occupy second place - with just goal difference separating the two teams in the group.

The Glaswegian side have been in superb form recently, comfortably sitting at the top of the Scottish Premiership - nine points above fierce rivals Celtic, although the Hoops currently have two games in hand.

Their most recent league win was away at Kilmarnock, with a James Tavernier's penalty the only goal separating the two teams.

The Gers also picked up wins against Standard Liege and Lech Poznan, with their most recent Europa League fixture ending in a 1-0 victory against the Polish side.

If Rangers win on Thursday night, they will prevent Benfica from becoming the first side to go 24 matches unbeaten in the history of the UEFA Cup and Europa League, having matched Zenit St Petersburg's record last week.

Benfica Europa League form: WW
Benfica form (all competitions): LWWWWW

Rangers Europa League form: WW
Rangers form (all competitions): WWWWWW


Team News

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring against Lech Poznan in the Europa League on October 29, 2020© Reuters

Jesus is expected to make a few changes to the starting XI that lost against Boavista this week as the Benfica manager is desperate to continue his excellent run in Europe.

Haris Seferovic could replace Nunez at front, while Diogo Goncalves could come in for Gilberto at right-back, with the 23-year-old occupying that role in their convincing 3-0 win over Standard Liege.

In terms of injuries, Alex Grimaldo is set to miss the upcoming match, after the defender had to be substituted off in their win over Belenenses last week due to an ankle sprain.

Andre Almeida is also expected to miss the game with a knee injury, while Jean-Clair Todibo remains doubtful.

For Rangers, long-term absentee Nikola Katic is the only player set to miss the match through injury, with the defender expected to return to action next year.

Joe Aribo could make way for Glen Kamara in midfield, but Alfredo Morelos may keep his place up front.

Gerrard may opt for a similar side that won against Kilmarnock, yet the former Liverpool man will be hoping for more goals come Thursday.

Benfica possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Goncalves, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Tavares; Pizzi, Pires, Taraabt, Everton; Seferovic, Waldschmidt

Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Arfield, Jack, Kamara; Itten, Morelos, Kent


SM words green background

We say: Benfica 1-0 Rangers

With Rangers currently in superb form, it is hard to see anyone beating the current Scottish Premiership leaders. However, with Benfica set to make history and Jesus desperate for a home win in the Europa League, we see the Portuguese giants claiming a narrow victory.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

ID:420899:cQx

Who will win Thursday's Europa League clash between Benfica and Rangers?

Benfica
Draw
Rangers
Benfica
58.2%
Draw
18.6%
Rangers
23.2%
177
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Rangers captain James Tavernier pictured in August 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Sporting Lisbon76101941519
2Braga7502127515
3Benfica7502179815
4Porto74121810813
5Rio AveRio Ave724155010
6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes731347-310
7Nacional724187110
8Santa ClaraSanta Clara731377010
9FamalicaoFamalicao72321114-39
10Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira622278-18
11MoreirenseMoreirense622256-18
12TondelaTondela7223612-68
13BelenensesBelenenses714235-27
14Maritimo7214811-37
15BoavistaBoavista71331015-56
16SC FarenseFarense7124912-35
17Gil Vicente712459-45
18PortimonensePortimonense7115511-64

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