Aribo on target and Rangers win seven-goal thriller against Royal Antwerp

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The Super Eagles midfielder started the party at the Bosuilstadion with his first goal before Gers completed a thrilling comeback.

Joe Aribo opened his UEFA Europa League goal tally this season with the first goal in Rangers’ 4-3 comeback over Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

Aribo broke the deadlock in Antwerp in the 38th minute, thanks to the assistance of Alfredo Morelos, but the hosts turned the game around in the closing stages of the first half.

Felipe Avenatti disallowed Aribo’s first goal for the first time in the 45th minute before Lior Refaelov overtook them in injury time.

After the restart, Borna Barisic leveled for Steven Gerrard’s men shortly before the hour with his shot from the penalty spot, but Antwerp quickly regained the lead with Martin Hongla’s goal in the 66th minute.

The Rangers showed resistance towards the end of the match and earned a vital victory along the way, thanks to Ryan Kent’s draw in the 83rd minute and Barisic’s goal in the 90th minute from the point.

Aribo played from start to finish, while Nigeria defender Leon Balogun came off the bench to replace the injured James Tavernier in the 24th minute.

Cameroonian duo Hongla and Frank Boya were in action for Royal Antwerp, but took a heavy blow after Senegal’s Abdoulaye Seck was ordered a second yellow card in the 88th minute.

Thursday’s result gives the Rangers an advantage before the reverse game at Ibrox Stadium on February 25. So far this season, Steven Gerrard’s men have lost only one of their last 40 games in all competitions – 33 wins and six draws.

With the downfall of South Africa’s Bongani Zungu due to violation of Covid-19 rules, Aribo and Balogun are expected to help the Rangers maintain their unbeaten streak in the Premiership when they host Dundee United on Sunday.

They sit at the top of the table with a gap of 15 points above Celtic, who are in second place.

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