RANGERS' first experience of Women's Champions League football ended when they by Benfica at the Futebol Campus in Seixal. It proved to be a dramatic evening thanks to a late goal near the end of regulation time by teenage substitute Emma Watson – but despite the lifeline Benfica scored at the start of extra time and again at the end to qualify for the group stage for a second successive season.

Malky Thomson made one change from the first leg at Ibrox, winger Lizzie Arnot coming in for Finland internationalist Jenny Danielsson. With both first choice central defenders injured, Tessel Middag and Lisa Martinez again deputised.

Summer signing Vic Esson, who has been preferred to Scotland No 2 goalkeeper Jenna Fife in the opening weeks of the season, made up for the error which had gifted Benfica their third goal in Glasgow in a torrid opening 45 minutes for the visitors.

The New Zealander's first save was with her feet from Brazilian Ana Vitoria, who scored twice for Benfica in the opening leg. But better was to follow after 17 minutes when Esson dived to her left to palm a stinging shot from Andreia Faria round the post for a corner.

Rangers, whose only attacking threat came from Arnot free kicks in the opening and closing minutes of the half, remained under siege and Esson was forced to make an almost identical save from Faria midway through the half. Benfica could again have gone ahead just before the half hour when Vitoria cut the ball back from the byline, but Valeria Silva's low shot was directed to the wrong of the far post.

Faria scorned the best chance of the half when, following a corner after the ball had richocheted off three Rangers defenders, she somehow sent the ball wide from in front of goal.

The siege continued in the opening five minutes of the second half with Vitoria sending a first time shot over the bar when clear on Esson, and Martinez getting a vital touch to deny Nycole Raysla a certain goal.

With the tie somehow still in the balance the remaining 40 minutes were far more even, but even so it was a major surprise when Rangers went ahead three minutes from time. A corner from the right went through the gloves of Benfica goalkeeper Rute Costa and teenage substitute Emma Watson took advantage to stab the ball home.


Emma Watson celebrates after scoring to force extra-time

Emma Watson celebrates after scoring to force extra-time


Unbelievably Rangers almost got a second two minutes later. Captain Nicola Docherty won the ball in midfield and ran forward before sending in a shot which was just inches over the bar.

Hopes of a famous victory and group stage football at the first attempt took a serious knock just three minutes into injury time. Lacasse collected the ball just inside the Rangers half and cut in from the left wing to beat Esson with a close range shot.

Benfica went down to ten when Lucia Alves was sent off for a second yellow card offence, but even so substitute Jessica Silva got Benfica's second just before the end.


Rangers celebrate Emma Watsons goal

Rangers celebrate Emma Watson's goal