Glasgow Rangers versatile forward Kemar Roofe stole the show as Steven Gerrard’s side were once again held to a draw by Benfica in the Europa League, having put in a Man of the Match performance at Ibrox on Thursday night.
Ianis Hagi may have been pushing for a recall but Gerrard gave Roofe his backing to keep his place on the right wing for Rangers last night as he had scored three goals and supplied an assist in his past two fixtures prior to the game against Benfica at the Govan stadium.
The Ibrox boss will have been pleased with the Jamaican’s performance as he was at the heart of almost everything going forwards, straying from the right flank at almost free will and popping up in various places all over the pitch in the opposition half to cause the Portuguese giants several problems.
Scott Arfield was back to his very best, the ever-reliable Ryan Kent his usual imperious self, but Roofe was the real standout.
Having missed a large chunk of the season due to injury, it was a display Gers fans have come to expect from the former Leeds United striker in recent weeks, as he has now bagged seven times in 12 appearances in all competitions for the club so far this season.
Barry Douglas believes his former teammate can push Gerrard’s side to the next level, saying: “Roofe’s very strong for not being the tallest. He can rough defenders up as well.
“He’s definitely got all the attributes to succeed and being at a club like Rangers, and the dominance they will have and the chances they will create in games, he’s definitely going to get among the goals.”
If this performance is anything to go by, the 27-year-old is more than proving his worth (£4m via Transfermarkt) as the Rangers beast ran riot on the right wing with 45 touches of the ball and won 57% of his duels overall. He was also fouled twice, which implies that he was a thorn in Jorge Jesus’ side, per SofaScore.
No player from either side could better his tally of two shots on target, whilst only Alfredo Morelos alone was able to match his efforts, but Roofe was the more clinical of the two as he lashed home a sensational screamer from 20 yards out into the top corner.
Roofe also successfully completed his single dribble attempt of the game, made 17 out of 23 passes (74%), and produced one accurate long ball, whilst he made more tackles (3) than any of his teammates bar Steven Davis and Ryan Kent, which suggests that he contributed defensively as well.
It’s fair to say that Roofe has added a cutting edge to Gerrard’s attack but this wasn’t enough to prevent the Gers from blowing a two-goal lead once again against Benfica, having suffered from late lapses of concentration in Lisbon.