Rangers threw away a two-goal advantage once again against Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday, with the match ending 2-2.
Kemar Roofe, Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield were excellent in attack and Rangers caused their Portuguese opponents plenty of issues throughout, taking six shots on target to Benfica’s two.
However, the Lisbon-based side made both count and Steven Gerrard will need to look at why his side have managed to concede four late goals against the same team, while holding a commanding lead.
All season Rangers defence has been outstanding and on Thursday night, it was largely good. Leon Balogun in particular impressed, having been selected ahead of Filip Helander in recent weeks after the Sweden international struggled in the reverse fixture in Lisbon.
The Nigerian made a couple of vital interventions, including one that stopped Rafa Silva in his tracks after a brilliant turn from the playmaker. Had Silva been able to get past Balogun it was an almost certain goal but the 32-year-old made a brilliant recovery that justified his selection on its own.
Overall, he outplayed his centre-back partner Connor Goldson, an ever-present for the Gers this season who endured a difficult evening. Balogun completed more passes and was accurate when finding a teammate than Goldson, while he also completed two tackles and six clearances (via WhoScored).
Goldson was then found wanting for Benfica’s first goal, turning his back and failing to block the initial shot, which allowed the ball to fall to Goncalo Ramos in the area. Had the Rangers defender stood his ground and remained front on, the goal could have been prevented.
Both defenders could have done better on the second goal too, with Balogun going to ground too early and Goldson once again turning his back. The Nigerian international was slightly sold by the dummy, but looked more committed than his defensive partner in trying to block the ball.
Goldson has been excellent this season but Thursday was not his best showing and he was outplayed by Balogun. This should not be a concern though, but rather a sign from the Nigerian that he can step up and play at such a high level.
In other Rangers news, BBC pundit reacts to Gers performance v Benfica