Rangers produced a spirited result on the road as they held Benfica to a 2-2 draw in Lisbon. 

Philippe Clement's side were in Europa League knockout stage action for the first time since finishing tournament runners-up in 2022. And they showed in spells why they deserve to be back among the last 16 of the competition this season.

The Light Blues had to soak up initial pressure from the hosts but it was Tom Lawrence who sent the 3000 strong away end berserk with a header beyond Anatolii Trubin after just seven minutes. 

Angel Di Maria got Benfica back on level terms from the penalty spot following John Souttar's handball inside the box during first half stoppage time. That was a bitter blow for Rangers, who had defended resolutely until that point. But they would only be behind for a matter of minutes as Dujon Sterling converted Fabio Silva's low cross to put the Scots ahead at the break. 

The Portuguese giants were gifted another equaliser on 67 minutes when Connor Goldson headed beyond his own goalkeeper. 

There were a few nervy moments yet Rangers fly back to Glasgow unscathed - setting up another thriller in seven days times. 

READ MORE: Philippe Clement announces Rangers team to face Benfica

Here are the talking points from Estadio da Luz...

Still in it

First leg knockout ties can often be cagey affairs, but with both teams suffering gut-wrenching defeats at the weekend, the impetus was on returning to winning ways. 

Rangers struck first through Lawrence, who appears to have put his early injury setbacks behind him to become a pivotal figure in Clement's squad. 

The Scottish Premiership leaders did find themselves on the back foot for large parts but picked their moments to penetrate, and when they did you could sense the nervousness, not just in the Benfica backline but from the stands too. 

Many teams could crumble and look vulnerable having just had a VAR penalty award go against them. Rangers felt the opposite effect as they retaliated immediately. A clear sign that they can stay laser-focused even in moments of potential adversity.

Busy Butland

The traffic was continuously driving towards the Rangers stopper from the first whistle. Yet little seemed to faze Jack Butland. 

He made a terrific double save on 14 minutes as Benfica looked certain to score. Argentina superstar Di Maria looked like the hosts most likely goal source and it was the 36-year-old that notched the equaliser from 12-yards - sending Butland the wrong way with a clever penalty. 

David Neres sliced the ball wide from close range midway through the second half causing another minor scare. 

Then the English goalkeeper was helpless for Benfica's second goal - with Goldson needlessly nodding Di Maria's free-kick into his own net. 

It's so often fine margins in football, especially when dining among Europe's elite, and Rangers will be well aware of that. They will have the added bonus of the roaring Ibrox crowd for the second leg next Thursday and that could make all the difference. 

Clinical Gers

Eyebrows were raised when Clement included both Silva and Cyriel Dessers in his starting line-up - but you could argue it was effective at times. 

The high-profile Wolves loanee looked hungry to impress throughout and didn't shy away from dropping deep to help his teammates and provided the pinpoint cross to tee up Sterling in first half stoppage time. The unselfishness on show not just from Silva but from majority of those in blue and white was there to be seen. 

They were made to work hard for the draw but with two goals from two clear-cut chances, Rangers will leave the Portuguese capital relatively pleased with their showing. Benfica on the other hand amassed 24 shots at goal and couldn’t show their clinical touch.