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Red for Nigeria’s Balogun, assist for Zambia’s Sakala as Rangers outwit Motherwell

17:07 GMT+3 23/04/2022
Leon Balogun - Rangers
The Super Eagles defender was given his marching orders in the first half as his side claimed victory in a dominant display

Nigeria’s Leon Balogun received a red card as Zambia’s Fashion Sakala provided an assist in Rangers’ 3-1 win over Motherwell in a Scottish Premiership game on Saturday.

Balogun was red-carded in the 29th minute following a dangerous challenge on Dean Cornelius. Sakala provided the assist for the second goal as Rangers regained the lead early in the second half.

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast’s Amad Diallo – after a quick counter-attack - came close to opening the score for Rangers, but his effort was cleared by Jake Carroll.

Sakala – who had to be treated for a knock before returning to the pitch- ran from deep before laying a pass to Diallo in the box. The teenager beat Liam Kelly, but Carroll stopped his low effort from getting into the net.

Kelly’s own goal in the 14th minute gave the away side the lead. James Tavernier’s cross to the back post was headed across goal by Connor Goldson, and Kelly stretched to get a hand on it, but the ball fell behind him for an own goal.

Nigeria’s Calvin Bassey came on for Diallo in the 31st minute as Rangers made their first change. Meanwhile, Motherwell’s Juhani Ojala was booked for a dangerous challenge on Scott Wright.

In the 35th minute, Ross Tierney – with an assist from Carroll - equalized for the home side before Scott Arfield became the second player to be yellow-carded in the 44th minute.

Two minutes into the second half, Rangers scored again after a terrific run started by Sakala. The Zambian drove forward and sent the ball in Wright’s path, and Kelly had no chance of saving the ferocious hit from the edge of the box by the Scotland midfielder.

Just after the hour mark, Tavernier scored – his 80th goal for the club - the third goal for Rangers from the spot. Uganda international Bevis Mugabi conceded the penalty after he brought down Sakala in the box.

In the 68th minute, the away side made two changes as Nigeria’s Joe Aribo and James Sands came on for Arfield and Glen Kamara.

Sakala – who received a precise pass from Goldson - came close to adding the fourth, but Kelly’s great save denied him.

Rangers have now narrowed the gap on Celtic to three points, but the league leaders will be in action on Sunday against Ross County.