There’s a top of Group D clash on Thursday as Benfica host Rangers in the Europa League (5:55pm kick-off).
Both sides have started the group stage in perfect fashion, winning their opening two games. For Rangers, they’ve been narrow victories, beating Standard Liege 2-0 before a 1-0 slender win over Lech Poznan. But these results have been indicative of their season so far, with Steven Gerrard’s men unbeaten in 18 games across all competitions and top of the Scottish Premiership.
Meanwhile Benfica have been slightly more dominant in the Europa League, with 4-2 and 3-0 wins over Lech Poznan and Standard Liege respectively. They were perfect in the Primeira Liga too, until Boavista beat them 3-0 at the weekend, slightly rocking what had been a comfortable start to the season.
This will be the first meeting between Rangers and Benfica in European competition, but both teams do have impressive records against teams from the respective nations. Rangers are unbeaten in 11 games against Portuguese opposition, while Benfica have won five against Scottish sides.
Where to watch Benfica vs Rangers on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 3
- US: CBS All Access
Where to live stream Benfica vs Rangers:
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Benfica & Rangers’ previous line-ups:
- Benfica (vs Boavista): Vlachodimos; Gilberto, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Tavares; Pizzi, Gabriel, Taarabt, Everton; Waldschmidt, Nunez.
- Rangers (vs Kilmarnock): McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Arfield, Jack, Aribo; Itten, Morelos, Kent.
Neither side has any fresh injury worries following their league games at the weekend, but both managers may opt to rotate slightly.
Players to watch:
- Benfica: Pizzi has been Benfica’s man to rely on in the Europa League this year, and the club will be hoping he can come through once again in a crucial match. Including the 2019/20 round-of-32, Benfica have played four games in the Europa League up until this point and Pizzi has scored in each one. The Portuguese midfielder has scored five goals in those four games, three of which have come this season. He managed one in the 4-2 win over Lech Poznan, in just 45 minutes, and added a further two last week against Standard Liege. Can he make it five in a row?
- Rangers: Alfredo Morelos. A lot of praise has been given to Rangers’ defence this season, and rightly so, but in Morelos they have a man on the edge of history. The Colombian has had a mixed season so far with regards to his game time, playing the full 90 minutes just three times as Gerrard looks to lessen Rangers reliance on the forward. However, that hasn’t stopped him from scoring. Morelos has six goals across all competitions this season including the only goal in Rangers’ 1-0 win over Lech Poznan last time out. That strike was his 21st in European competition for the club, moving him level with Rangers legend Ally McCoist as the record holder. Now just one away from holding the record outright, Morelos may aim to do it sooner rather than later.