Darren Bent Rages Over ‘Unnatural’ Rangers Controversy V Benfica

Rangers and Benfica played out a 2-2 draw, but the match was marred by a contentious handball decision that left Darren Bent fuming.

The incident in question involved John Souttar, who found himself at the center of controversy when the referee awarded a penalty against him after a lengthy VAR review. Souttar, 27, was attempting to clear a cross when the ball struck his arm in the penalty area. Despite protests, the referee eventually reversed his initial decision and pointed to the spot. Angel Di Maria capitalized on the opportunity, smashing the ball past Jack Butland in the Rangers’ net and canceling out Tom Lawrence’s early headed opener. Dujon Sterling later restored the lead for Rangers, only for a Connor Goldson own goal to level the score at 2-2.

Reacting to the contentious decision, Darren Bent, speaking live on talkSPORT on Friday, expressed his frustration, stating, “How they give that as a penalty… Oh my. His arm is about half an inch from his face, and they give that? In no shape or form, is that a penalty. When you go to head the ball, your arm naturally comes up. They’re asking players to jump without using their arms, which is unnatural.”

The questionable penalty decision not only impacted the scoreline but also rattled the confidence of the Rangers side, who had initially taken the lead through Lawrence’s early goal. Philippe Clement, the Rangers’ manager, will likely be disappointed not to secure a victory in Portugal, as the draw means they will have to return to Ibrox for the second leg on Thursday, March 14.