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Nigeria's Aribo and Bassey see yellow as Rangers defeat rivals Celtic in Scottish Cup

17:12 BST 17/04/2022
Joe Aribo of Rangers.
The two Super Eagle players were in action as the Gers came from a goal down the beat the Bhoys in the hotly contested semi-final clash

Nigeria internationals Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey played vital roles as Rangers defeated rivals Celtic 2-1 in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup to reach the final at Hampden Park on Sunday.

The Gers went into the game seeking to avenge their loss against the same side 2-1 in the Scottish Premiership two weeks ago, but it was Greg Taylor who put the Bhoys ahead in the 64th minute before Scott Arfield came off the bench to make it 1-1 in the 78th minute.

The goal took the semi-final clash into extra-time and it was in the 114th minute when Carl Starfelt scored into his own net to hand the Gers a place in the final.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronkhorst handed the 25-year-old Aribo another start alongside his Nigerian counterpart Bassey. Meanwhile, Nigeria defender Leon Balogun and Zambia international Fashion Sakala were named on the bench.

Aribo’s first chance came in the 33rd minute when he snatched the ball from Starfelt and put through Borna Barisic on the left-wing.

The defender's cross found Kemar Roofe, whose thumping header was blocked by Starfelt, who had raced back to defend, but the follow up fell to Aribo, but the header was saved by Joe Hart.

The former Charlton Athletic player, who has so far managed eight top-flight goals from 31 appearances, was then booked in the 36th minute, the first yellow card of the game, after he pushed to the ground Celtic’s Callum McGregor with his arms.

In the second period, Bassey almost gifted Celtic with a goal after his poor pass was intercepted by Liel Abada but the Super Eagle reacted quickly to kick the ball out.

Celtic then took the lead when Rangers switched off at the back, allowing McGregor to play a reverse ball into Taylor on the edge of the box and his effort took a deflection off Bassey before beating goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin into the near bottom corner.

Aribo was then substituted in the 75th minute for Arfield, and it took the Scottish player three minutes to draw the Gers level, finishing off a cross from James Tavernier past the stranded Hart.

With seven minutes left to the final whistle, Arfield thought he had scored the second for Rangers after curling the ball past Hart, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Sakala was then introduced for Roofe in the 109th minute while Balogun was also brought on for Barisic. The Chipolopolo forward almost scored with his first touch of the ball after he went for a spectacular overhead kick but it deflected onto the roof of the net.

However, Rangers' relentless pressure paid off in the 114th minute following a brilliant counter-attack. Ryan Kent drove through the middle to lay a pass to Bassey, who pulled it back into the six-yard box towards Sakala, but it was Starfelt who got the final touch to score into his own net past Hart.

Bassey was then booked in the chaos of Rangers celebrations after he jumped over the advertising boards to celebrate in front of the fans but it could not stop his side from getting one over their rivals and reaching the domestic cup final.