Steven Gerrard reflects on 'real regrets' after Rangers lose two-goal lead to 10-man Benfica

Frustrated Rangers manager Steven Gerrard admits it will take him some time to get over the disappointment of his team’s failure to claim a momentous victory against Benfica in the Stadium of Light.

Steven Gerrard left frustrated in Lisbon on Thursday as Rangers let a 3-1 lead slip to draw 3-3 with 10-man Benfica in Group D of the Europa League. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
Steven Gerrard left frustrated in Lisbon on Thursday as Rangers let a 3-1 lead slip to draw 3-3 with 10-man Benfica in Group D of the Europa League. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Ibrox side were leading 3-1 going into the closing stages of a thrilling Europa League Group D contest with top seeds Benfica having been reduced to 10 men after just 19 minutes by the dismissal of defender Nicolas Otamendi.

Rangers missed several chances to increase their lead before Rafa Silva made it 3-2 in the 77th minute. Benfica still looked to be heading for their first ever home defeat in the Europa League until substitute Darwin Nunez equalised in stoppage time.

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

“It will certainly sting for a while,” said Gerrard. “It obviously feels more like a defeat than a positive point right now. It's a point closer to where we want to be – but it should be three. We'll have some real regrets from this game. Of course we will.”

Rangers had recovered from the loss of a second minute own goal by Connor Goldson to lead 2-1 at half-time after Diogo Goncalves put through his own net and Glen Kamara scored. Alfredo Morelos made it 3-1 early in the second half with his 22nd European goal for Rangers, breaking the all-time club record set by Ally McCoist.

"We started the game poorly and conceded a poor goal,” said Gerrard. “Then, obviously, the red card helped us a lot. We played some really, really good football to get ourselves 3-1 in front. So to draw the game from that position is really disappointing.

“It was a matter of game management. At 3-1 we just needed to keep good positions, control and order on the pitch. But we lost control and have ourselves to blame.

“We conceded two poor goals and also missed two or three big chances at the other end to go to 4-1 or 5-1. So we got what we deserved. At 3-1, we didn’t do enough to get over the line.

"I thought Alfredo was outstanding for the majority of the game and he got another important goal. Hopefully we’re now seeing him back to his best.”

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