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Sports News of Monday, 27 December 2021


Aribo provides assist as Rangers defeat St. Mirren

Joe Aribo Joe Aribo

The Super Eagles midfielder played a key role in the Gers’ triumph over Jim Goodwin’s Saints

Super Eagles midfielder, Joe Aribo, provided an assist as Rangers subdued St. Mirren 2-0 in yesterday’s Scottish Premiership encounter.

First-half goals from Alfredo Morelos and Scott Wright were all the Gers needed to overcome the Saints at the Ibrox Stadium.

Having failed to win their last ten matches in all competitions, Jim Goodwin’s men travelled to Glasgow with the ambition of ending their poor run.

For the hosts, they were gunning to extend their unbeaten run to nine.

As expected, Rangers began at a commanding pace with Aribo dictating the action from the midfield, while the visitors preferred to sit back and relied on counterattacks.

Profiting from their early pressure, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men took the lead after 14 minutes courtesy of Scott Wright’s fourth of the season.

From a corner out on the right, Aribo headed James Tavernier’s corner towards the Scottish forward who headed past goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.

They almost doubled their advantage three minutes later but Tavernier’s strike from 25 yards was deflected wide.

In the 26th minute, St. Mirren leaked their second goal of the evening as Morelos bagged his 13th goal of the 2021-22 campaign.

Towards the end of the first 45 minutes, Alnwick was forced to produce several saves to keep the scoreline decent.

He saved superbly from Morelos as Aribo was the provider with a neat through-ball, before the Nigeria international himself was denied by the goalkeeper with a low shot from just inside the area.

Nothing changed in the second half as Rangers maintained their dominance but were unlucky in front of goal.

Wright, Tavener and Aribo dragged efforts from distance wide, while Alnwick was imposing in goal.

Nonetheless, it was the hosts who sealed all maximum points as St. Mirren would rue their uninspiring first half.

Aribo and Calvin Bassey – who did not make Nigeria’s 28-man list for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations – were in action from start to finish, while Leon Balogun remains on the sidelines due to injury.

Zambia international Fashion Sakala was introduced in the 68th minute for Ryan Kent.

Thanks to their result, Van Bronckhorst’s team remains at the summit of the Scottish elite division having garnered 51 points from 20 matches – six points ahead of second-placed Celtic.

In another development, at the post-match press conference, a journalist revealed that Wright was his Man of the Match but he was cut short at that point by Van Bronckhorst, who jokingly quizzed him, ‘No Joe Aribo today?’

Aribo has been unarguably the most influential player at Rangers since Van Bronckhorst took over the managerial reins from Steven Gerrard, scoring three goals and setting up a goal in seven league outings.

Today’s clash against the St Mirren was his last game for Rangers before reporting for international duty ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Aribo and Balogun are expected to join the Super Eagles squad in Abuja later this week to start preparations for Cameroon 2021.