September 18, 2021

Balogun makes Rangers debut, Aribo shines in victory over Aberdeen

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The Nigeria internationals featured prominently as the Gers began their campaign with a victory at Pittodrie Stadium

Leon Balogun made his debut while Joe Aribo was in action as Glasgow Rangers secured a 1-0 win over Aberdeen in their first game of the 2020-21 season.

The 32-year-old defender joined the Ibrox Stadium outfit from Championship side Wigan Athletic after reaching the end of his short-term contract with the Latics.

Balogun teamed up with Wigan initially on loan from Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion before the deal was made permanent. He subsequently played 11 games for the side.

The defender was immediately handed a starting role by manager Steven Gerrard after he proved his fitness in training along with his compatriot Aribo.

Balogun formed a four-man defence along with Borna Barisic, Connor Goldson and James Tavernier and delivered a solid performance.

The former Werder Bremen centre-back made three clearances, blocked one shot, had eight touches and recorded a 100-percent pass-success rate to help the Ibrox Stadium outfit keep a clean sheet in the encounter.  

Ryan Kent scored the only goal of the game after benefitting from Alfredo Morelos’ assist in the 21st minute.

Aribo, meanwhile, struck three shots, with two on target, made two key passes and had a 100-percent pass-success rate to ensure his side clinched their first win of the season.

The midfielder was recently named the club’s 2019-20 Young Player of the Season following his impressive showings in the campaign.

Aribo also scooped the Goal of the Season, after his fine effort against Sporting Braga helped the Gers advance into the Round of 16 of the Europa League.

The Super Eagles players featured for the duration of the game, while Belgian-born Nigerian Funso Ojo was on parade for 78 minutes but could not help Aberdeen to avoid a home defeat.

Balogun and Aribo will hope to help Rangers continue in the winning ways when they take on Bayer Leverkusen in their Europa League Round of 16 second leg tie on August 6.

The duo are key components of the Nigeria national team, with Balogun helping the West Africans secure their eighth bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.