Balogun is Rangers’ winning charm, Aribo unlucky as Gerrard’s Gers claim first UEL win
Eleven days after scoring his first-ever goal for Nigeria, the Berlin-born defender has backed it up with his first competitive strike for the Scottish champions
Nigerian internationals Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo were excellent at the Ibrox to help power Rangers to their first Europa League victory of the season with a 2-0 triumph over Broendby on Thursday.
Balogun put Rangers in front in the 18th minute of the encounter, rising above his marker to meet a James Tavernier corner-kick and power a header into the back of the net.
It was the Super Eagles centre-back’s first goal for the Ibrox giants since he moved to Glasgow last year. It was also Rangers’ first goal in the group stages of the Europa League this season, with the Gers firing blank in losses to Lyon and Sparta Prague.
However, the goal was Balogun’s second in less than two weeks after the defender opened the scoring for Nigeria in a 2-0 triumph over the Central African Republic on October 10 – his first-ever goal for the three-time African champions.
Kemar Roofe doubled the home side’s lead on the half-hour mark to seal all three points at stake, but Nigerian midfielder Aribo would curse his luck for not claiming at least an assist in the encounter.
The former Charlton Athletic man was involved in the build-up to Roofe’s goal, but he should have earned a proper assist on the stroke of halftime. However, after Aribo laid an intelligent pass off to Morelos, the striker’s attempt crashed back off the post.
And shortly after the interval, the Nigerian midfielder thought he had won a penalty for his side after being tripped in the Danish side’s box, but his plea was waved away after a VAR check.
An injury, however, ended Balogun’s night early, with the former Mainz man withdrawn just past the hour mark only to be replaced by new Super Eagles invitee Calvin Bassey.
Still, his contribution had been enough to guide the Gers to their first points of the Europa League and a lift off the foot of Group A.