The Scottish champions took advantage of their huge first-leg win to advance to the last eight of the Europa League
Rangers lost 2-1 at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday evening in the second leg round of 16 contest of the Europa League, but the Gers advance to the next phase of the competition on a 4-2 aggregate.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men progress to the quarterfinals, having secured a 3-0 advantage at the Ibrox Stadium last week.
Mirko Ivanic gave Red Star Belgrade a 10th-minute lead. Still, Ryan Kent’s effort moments into the second half restored parity before a late El Fardou Ben Nabouhane penalty gave the night’s victory to the home side.
As with the first leg, four players of Nigerian were on the pitch at kickoff, with Red Star Belgrade parading Ohi Omoijuanfo while Rangers dressed Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey.
Balogun netted the crucial last goal at the Ibrox in the first leg in the 3-0 thumping of the Serbians, and he was once again massive for the visitors at the heart of the defence.
The 33-year-old centre-back’s calm and experienced head helped Rangers get out of trouble several times, with the former Mainz man making seven clearances, two tackles, and one interception. Balogun also won an incredible 80 percent of his duels.
Compatriots Aribo and Bassey had a subdued game, judging by their high standards.
Their contributions were still significant as Rangers made it to the quarterfinal stage of a European competition for the first since their 2007-08 adventure in the UEFA Cup.
Rangers turn attention to the Premiership where they next face Dundee at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park on Sunday.
After that clash, the Gers’ Nigerian trio will head to Kumasi via Abuja, where they will team up with their international teammates ahead of the Super Eagles playoff clash against Ghana for a spot at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
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