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Balogun excels as Rangers, Celtic draw in Old Firm derby

NIGERIA defender Leon Balogun was one of the best players on the pitch on Sunday as he helped Rangers hold their bitter rivals Celtic to a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park.

The Old Firm derby is the biggest rivalry in Scottish football as it involves the country’s two most successful clubs.

Rangers have already won the Scottish Premiership title, ending Celtic’s nine-year grip on the trophy.

Balogun played a key role in Rangers winning their first title in almost a decade and he was a man-of-the-match candidate on Sunday.

The Super Eagles centre-back not only stood firm the the heart of the Rangers defence, he also played a huge part in their goal after Celtic had taken the lead through Mohamed Elyounoussi who headed home off a cross from Odsonne Edouard in the 23rd minute. 

Balogun headed Borna Barisic’s cross into the path of Alfredo Morelos, who scored his first goal against Celtic from close range in the 38th minute.

In the first half alone, Balogun had more clearances (four), more interceptions (two) and more tackles (two) than any player on the pitch, according to Squawka.

The 32-year-old played for 56 minutes before he was replaced by Nathan Patterson.

It was Balogun’s 29th appearance in all competitions for Rangers this season and his fourth assist.

His compatriot Joe Aribo also started Sunday’s big clash, and was taken off in the 77th minute for Scott Wright.

Both Balogun and Aribo are in the Super Eagles squad for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho billed for 27 March and 30 March.

They are expected to arrive in Lagos on Monday to join the team in preparation for the international fixtures.

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