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‘Balogun wanted to win the tackle’ – Rangers’ Van Bronckhorst defends Super Eagle after red card

6:52 PM IST 24/04/22
Leon Balogun of Nigeria and Rangers.
The Gers manager gives his thoughts on the red card decision after the 33-year-old Super Eagle was sent off at Fir Park

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has given his verdict on the red card flashed to defender Leon Balogun in the team’s 3-1 victory against Motherwell in a Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

After Rangers took the lead courtesy of an own goal from Liam Kelly, the 33-year-old Nigeria international was shown a straight red card in the 28th minute following a clumsy challenge on Dean Cornelius.

His exit allowed Motherwell to draw level courtesy of Ross Tierney in the 35th minute but in the second half, the Gers retook the lead courtesy of Scott Wright in the 47th minute before James Tavernier sealed the win from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute.

Van Bronckhorst has explained his thoughts on the referee's decision to send off Balogun.

“Leon wanted to win the tackle, but in these circumstances, the margins are very little so the ref decided to give the red card and we had to respect that, move on and make sure we had the focus on the minutes that we had to play after that sending off,” Van Bronckhorst said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“Of course, we conceded the goal but I think we changed the game in the second half.”

Van Bronckhorst has also praised the performance of Zambia international Fashion Sakala, who won the penalty that was converted for the third goal.

“We know with Fashion [Sakala] and Scott up front you can always cause problems for a defence and, of course, we saw that with the run of Sakala and a good shot from Scott [for the second goal],” Sakala continued.

“The speed from Fashion also wins the penalty and it gives us the two goals which gave us the win. So we could change some players today and everyone who came in did very well and it is a very big win for us.”

On the outcome of the game, the former Arsenal defender said: “I'm very proud. We started the game well but the red card changed the momentum for us.

“After that, we had to adjust our game plan but I think it worked out well, especially when we have a lot of speed up front.”

Nigeria international Joe Aribo also featured in the game after coming on in the second half, the same as defender Calvin Bassey, who was introduced after the red card to his compatriot Balogun to replace Amad Diallo.