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African All Stars

Balogun left out of Rangers squad to face Lyon

5:16 PM WAT 08/12/2021
Rangers and Nigeria defender Leon Balogun.
The Gers will be without the Super Eagle when they square up against the Ligue 1 side on Thursday night in Decines-Charpieu

Leon Balogun has been left out of Rangers’ squad to face Olympique Lyon in Thursday’s Europa League encounter.

Despite the Nigeria international being back in training after missing Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first four games in charge due to injury, he will play no part in the crunch fixture.

Balogun has been out of action since the club’s League Cup semi-final defeat to Hibernian on November 21.

The Scottish Premiership side are already through to the Round of 16, albeit, they would be hoping to subdue their hosts at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Decines-Charpieu.

Addressing the media in a pre-match conference on Wednesday morning, the Dutchman gave an injury update about his team.

“Regarding the team news, I think Leon Balogun cannot travel this afternoon,” said Van Bronckhorst.

“We still have a training session left and so far we have everyone on board. We just have to wait until after the training before I can announce my squad.

“Regarding the game, we are going to watch closely the physical state of my players and it is also a game where I can change some positions to give the players some minutes who need that. I am more than comfortable to do so and to get a good game tomorrow evening.

“For the players who come in, it’s always good to have minutes. One of the downsides of being a coach with a big squad and also a squad with good players is that you have to disappoint players in every game.”

Also, Van Bronckhorst could leave out Alfredo Morelos and Zambia international Fashion Sakala, who are both one booking away from a suspension which would rule them out of the first leg of Rangers’ first knockout round fixture.

“That’s something that’s not easy to do but you have to do it. So, when you have the chance to give those players a chance to play it’s always good, it’s a nice feeling,” he continued.

“And for the players as well, because some players didn’t play as much in the last weeks but they gave everything in training and their mentality was really good so I am very pleased to give some players minutes tomorrow.

“These European games are always special. There is nothing at stake (in terms of qualification) so when you win or lose it doesn’t matter because you are still in, but I think both teams and both managers want to win every game.

“For me, it’s the same as for Peter Bosz. I expect some changes with Lyon as well. They have some injury problems after the weekend but still, they have a very big squad, a quality squad, so in the end, we will face a strong Lyon side with a lot of quality.”