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Rangers manager Philippe Clement was proud of his players despite their narrow defeat by Benfica.

The Light Blues were in a good position to reach the Europa League quarter-finals following a 2-2 draw in Lisbon last week but they fell just short against the Portuguese champions.

Rangers were caught on the counter-attack as Rafa Silva netted the only goal of the second leg in the 66th minute at Ibrox.

Clement said: “It was a close tie but I’m proud of what my players showed. We played a better game than we did in Lisbon, better on the ball, but you need to be on your toes to compete with this kind of team with a much bigger budget.

“Everyone did that, everybody raised their level. Then you need to take your moments and we didn’t take enough, and they took theirs.”

The goal originated from a Rangers corner. The visitors emerged with the ball on the edge of their box and the home side did not have a player within 20 yards of their own half.

A simple ball forward was headed on by Angel Di Maria and Silva raced clear of Mohamed Diomande before slotting home.

The offside flag was raised but the VAR officials decided Silva was just inside his half when Di Maria headed the ball on.

Clement said: “We made a wrong decision for the goal. If Dio just runs with the attacker then nothing happens.

“But he is a young player who played for the first time at this level and he played a really good game.”

When pressed on why Rangers looked so exposed at their own corners, Clement said: “They have a lot of quality, that’s one thing. The goal against, we made the wrong decision.

“I don’t think they created a lot of chances from that. We also had counter attacks in the first half from set-pieces.”

Rangers struggled to create chances to get back in the game until substitute Todd Cantwell stabbed wide in stoppage-time and Clement admitted his injury list had taken its toll.

“At the moment we don’t have the same impact we had a few months ago,” he said. “All the guys who came in have come out with injury. It’s about hard work now to make them better again.

“Like Todd, if you only have one training session after eight weeks out you cannot expect miracles. You need to be lucky.

“It could have happened. He had one moment at the end which was just past the post. You gamble on that.

“That’s the situation and everyone is working very hard to get a bigger squad fit for the next few weeks and months.”