There was no shame in defeat over two legs against Benfica for Philippe Clement and Rangers - even if the manner of their Europa League exit was frustrating.

Rangers controlled plenty of the ball during last night’s narrow 1-0 defeat at Ibrox while struggling to convert that into chances. With an uncharacteristic solitary change to the starting 11 across three games in seven days enforced by Dujon Sterling’s injury, the limited options Clement has to work with at present was apparent.

What will have frustrated the Belgian, as he cited during his post-match press conference, was the fact that Rangers conceded the winner from a position of strength - an attacking corner.

“We didn’t take enough of our moments and they took their moments,” the Rangers managed said speaking after the game.

“We made a wrong decision. If Dio just goes with the attacker, nothing happens in that situation but he is still a young player who plays for the first time at this level and he played a really good game.”

Silva's goal wasn’t the only dangerous moment Rangers conceded from one of their own corners, however. Let’s take a closer look at their approach, what they were attempting and what went wrong.

What was Rangers' approach at corners? 

Clement’s side pushed everyone forward at corners. With the far-side full-back tucking in at the far post, John Lundstram guarding the edge of the area and Mohamed Diomande marshalling the run of Rafa Silva or Angel Di Maria - whoever was situated wider.

The first question is why - would it not have been safer for Rangers to keep at least one player deep?

The alternative argument is that taking one of the three players highlighted down a line would simply give Di Maria or Silva a headstart at the edge of the box. Benfica were quickly committing numbers to counterattack if they won the first contact in the box. Rangers wanted to create a three-vs-two at the edge of the box, not a two-vs-two with one player deeper on the halfway line.

Here’s an example from a Ridvan corner on 26 minutes. As Benfica clear and Di Maria gets his head to the ball it loops over the head of Lundstram with Silva a step ahead of Diomande. 

Look at where Di Maria gets this contact - unopposed at the edge of the box. It's an important point overall.

However, Tavernier is tucked in and gives Diomande a helping hand to clear the ball back to Butland. If Tavernier was deeper in this situation, would that not simply hand Silva the initiative in open space?

Rangers’ issue was often the origin of Benfica's transitions and their lack of control in the centre of the box.

So what was the issue?

The home side had conceded two dangerous attacks from corners before the deciding goal. 

Take the first corner of the game for example. As the ball rebounds to Tavernier the hosts have their line of three at the edge of the box. However, given Di Maria has gambled and moved high after the initial cross, Lundstram has to drop deep. Rangers’ attacking line in the penalty box is too flat and now there’s nobody to control the centre - as was the case in the previous example.

Rangers’ issue, throughout, was the lack of control of this highlighted area. Because their attacking line was often flat it allowed the visitors to control this space and then target the line of full-back, Lundstram and Diomande in space.

Benfica now have a four-against-four at the edge of the box - given Diomande and Lundtsram have been forced backwards by runners.

This is a very similar concept to defending with a high line - the defensive structure is dependent on applying pressure on the ball high up the pitch. Otherwise, there’s little point in a high, aggressive line.

Here’s another example of the flat attacking line leaving Rangers vulnerable from a corner on 16 minutes. Initially, every Benfica player is in their own box.

But, following the movement of an outswinger, as the ball works its way to Ridvan in a narrow position Diomande and Lundtstram are again in a two-vs-two.

Look at the difference in the Rangers and Benfica players in the box as a shot is attempted. Again, the home side are failing to control the zone at the edge of the box with Lundstram forced to think backwards. Because he and Diomande are man-marking, the No.4 can't move forward.

The below StatsBomb freezeframe taken from Lundstram’s shot following a corner at the start of the second half (with red and blue confusingly mixed up) shows Rangers with a three-vs-two at the edge of the box. Even if they’re still not occupying that central zone, Lundstram gets a shot away quickly enough to compensate.

It was delaying on the ball in this position that would prove costly minutes later.

What went wrong at the goal? 

Let’s look at what went wrong frame by frame in the lead-up to Rafa Silva’s winner.

This aerial view shows the home side with their usual three-man set-up at the edge of the box.

As a deep delivery is floated in by Tavernier, notice once again how flat the six Rangers attackers are in the box. Ridvan seems to have been pulled wide by the deep delivery - perhaps thinking it will float over Goldson’s head - leaving Lundstram on his own at the edge of the box with Di Maria to mark behind and the space ahead to cover.

If Ridvan is narrower in this frame or one Rangers player drops slightly at the edge of the box, Lundstram is not caught in this situation.

Dessers is ultimately at fault for trying to chop back rather than playing a backwards pass, to allow Lundstram a quick shot as he’d attempted moments earlier. Di Maria knows it’s time to gamble.

As Benfica clear, Lundstram and Diomande are behind Silva and Di Maria. Just as importantly Rangers’ lack of pressure on the ball is what allows Benfica to exploit their shape on the counterattack.

Again the lack of pressure on the ball is what proves costly as the visitors break away to score.

Over two legs Clement’s side did well to mitigate Benfica’s threat. The Portuguese champions only shaded the open-plan xG 2.99 to 2.25 over two legs and scored once in open play.

Rangers' approach at corners was likely influenced by not only a desire to defend on the front foot and counterpress, but stop Benfica’s pace and quality at source rather than allowing it to break out from the penalty box.

Their biggest issue, alongside not following runners for the goal, was the lack of pressure placed at the edge of the area.