Filip Helander was far from his very best in Lisbon on Thursday night after Glasgow Rangers shipped two late goals to draw with 10-man Benfica in the Europa League.
After a terrible start, where Helander failed to clear his lines for Benfica’s first goal, things took a turn for the worse when he slipped again to allow Rafa Silva to score before Darwin Nunez scored an injury-time equaliser to snatch a point for the Portuguese giants.
Speaking after the game, Steven Gerrard admitted Rangers only have “ourselves to blame” after Nunez netted in stoppage time.
“That will certainly sting for a while,” he said.
“But once the dust settles I’m sure it will be a valuable point.
“We’ve got ourselves to blame. We started the game really poor for the opening minute and deserved to be one behind. We also finished the game poorly, so we certainly have a lot to learn from the goals we conceded.”
There were a couple of culprits for the poor performance, as Joe Aribo also struggled at times, although arguably none more so than the 11-cap Sweden international, who looked like a deer caught in the headlights throughout the game.
Per SofaScore, Helander received a lowly rating of 6.2 for his disappointing display – he only won two out of seven duels overall (25%), lost possession six times, and was dribbled past three times, which shows that he was often exposed at the back.
Similarly, GlasgowLive gave the centre-back a low grade of 5/10, claiming he is “normally so dependable but shocking mistake inside the first minute got Rangers off to the worst possible start”, before he “made another error to allow Benfica back into the match for their second goal, and ball was played between himself and Goldson for the third”, whilst The Daily Record gave him an equally scathing assessment, saying that he “held his hand to the early blunder that saw his team fall behind and another led to Benfica’s second goal which gave the hosts hope of a comeback.”
BT Sport pundit and former Celtic striker Chris Sutton slammed the Swede for his “terrible” defending, saying, as quoted by The Boot Room: “He [Helander] had a terrible game. He got caught out. It’ll feel like it is two points dropped.”
Quite why Helander, who earns wages worth £9,300-per-week, played the full 90 minutes we will probably never understand, especially when you consider the fact that Leon Balogun remained an unused substitute on the bench. Admittedly, hindsight is a wonderful thing. He has been in decent form recently for club and country but will want to forget all about his latest blunders, that’s for sure.