Benfica 2-1 Rangers (agg: 5-3): Dogged visitors denied Champions League place in extra time
BBC Sport -

Rangers threatened a shock result away to Benfica before missing out on qualifying for the Champions League group stage for the first time.

A close-range finish from 16-year-old Emma Watson took the tie into extra time at 3-3 on aggregate.

But a solo goal from Canada striker Cloe Lacasse and a late breakaway finish from Jessica Silva gave the Portuguese what was a deserved win.

Even defender Lucia Alves' late sending off could not deny the hosts.

Goalkeeper Victoria Esson, whose first-leg own-goal fumble handed Benfica their first-leg advantage, had this time denied the Portuguese champions a more convincing victory as they reached the group stage for a second successive season with a 10th straight win.

Both sides had returned to more familiar lines after recording convincing domestic wins despite making sweeping changes to their weekend line-ups.

But including Brazilian forwards Nycole Raysa and Valeria in place of defender Daniela Ferreira Silva and striker Marta Cintra looked like a move of attacking intent by host head coach Filipa Patao.

There was certainly little need for cover in defence throughout the first half as Benfica toyed with the first-time Scottish champions.

After Ana Vitoria, who had been moved back into the home midfield despite scoring twice in the first leg, forced a near post save off the Esson's knees, it signalled a wave of attacks that had the visitors pinned back in their own half.

Esson, making up for that first-leg error, was twice at full stretch to deny midfielder Andreia Faria from long range and then saved bravely at the feet of Raysa.

Defender Ana Seica fluffed her lines in front of an open goal and Lacasse fired against the crossbar.

The one-way traffic continued after the break, but Benfica's efforts on goal were becoming increasingly less accurate and Rangers began to inch their way back into the game.

It took Malky Thomson's side until the 76th-minute to threaten and, when they did, substitute Watson fired straight at goalkeeper Rute Costa, while fellow midfielder Chelsea Cornet shot wide moments later.

However, when Costa failed to hold a corner under pressure, Watson stabbed the loose ball home to level the aggregate score.

A Nicola Docherty drive skimmed the crossbar as Rangers came close to a shock win in normal time, but the full-back was shown a clean pair of heels three minutes into extra time as Lacasse strode into the penalty box to fire past the exposed Esson.

Alves' sending off gave Rangers the late numerical advantage, but Benfica still managed to end the game the dominant side as substitute striker Silva raced clear to end the visitors' Champions League dream.

Line-ups
Benfica Women

Formation 3-4-3

  • 66Campos Costa
  • 13Sousa AlvesBooked at 111mins
  • 3Silva Seiça
  • 15da Silva Costa
  • 10Kliemaschewsk de Araújo
  • 6Martins Faria

    Substituted forUcheibeat 109'minutes

  • 21Domínguez Encinas
  • 17Norton

    Substituted forManjenje Nogueira Silvaat 109'minutes

  • 7Cantuário da SilvaBooked at 74mins

    Substituted forNegrãoat 74'minutes

  • 28Silva Sobrinho

    Substituted forda Silva Cintraat 59'minutes

  • 20Lacasse
Substitutes
  • 1Talbert
  • 4Garcia Rebelo
  • 8da Silva Cintra
  • 11Negrão
  • 14Costa Malheiro Dias Correia
  • 16Ucheibe
  • 29de Sá Pessoa Brás Nogueira
  • 33Pintassilgo
  • 39Vilão Dias
  • 71da Silva
  • 77Manjenje Nogueira Silva
Rangers

Formation 4-5-1

  • 22Esson
  • 12McLauchlan

    Substituted forOrschmannat 99'minutes

  • 6Middag
  • 21MartinezBooked at 107mins
  • 2Docherty
  • 7Hay

    Substituted forHowatat 78'minutes

  • 18Cornet
  • 24KerrBooked at 111mins
  • 23MacLean

    Substituted forWatsonat 57'minutes

  • 15Arnot

    Substituted forNolfat 57'minutes

  • 10McCoy

    Substituted forMcLearyat 99'minutes

Substitutes
  • 1Fife
  • 8Orschmann
  • 9Howat
  • 14Cavanagh
  • 16Austin
  • 26McLeary
  • 27Nolf
  • 28Watson
  • 30Gray
  • 35Inman

Referee:
Marina Visnjic



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