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Zambia’s Sakala on target, Nigeria’s Balogun returns in Rangers' Scottish Cup win

09:56 GMT+3 22/01/2022
Zambia strikere Fashion Sakala.
The Chipolopolo forward struck home the fourth goal for the Gers as the Super Eagle returned from injury in the emphatic win

Zambia striker Fashion Sakala was on target as Rangers FC cruised to a comfortable 4-0 Scottish Cup win against League Two side Stirling Albion at Ibrox Stadium on Friday.

The game also marked the return from injury of Nigeria defender Leon Balogun, who featured for 60 minutes.

The Gers were comfortable playing at home and they took the lead through Alexander Lowry in the 31st minute before James Tavernier grabbed the second from the penalty spot in the 37th minute.

Cedric Itten then added the third in the 59th minute before Zambia international Sakala drilled the last nail into Stirling’s coffin with a great finish in the 86th minute and hand Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men a place in the fifth round.

Rangers were dangerous from the onset and it was 18-year-old debutant Lowry, who found the back of the net after being injured coming in to replace the injured Ianis Hagi.

Tavernier then converted from the penalty spot after a Stirling defender had handled the ball inside the box, sending goalkeeper Blair Currie the wrong way.

Rangers went into the break leading 2-0 and 14 minutes after the second period had kicked off, Itten scored his first goal and third for the Gers before Sakala rounded up the emphatic win after finishing off a great pass from Juninho Bacuna.

It was Sakala’s first goal in two Scottish Cup matches since joining Rangers from Belgian side KV Oostende and the 24-year-old has scored five goals in the Scottish Premiership from 15 appearances.

Meanwhile, Balogun returned to action since his last appearance in the 4-2 win against Ross County in the Scottish Premiership. The 28-year-old Super Eagle started in the game and was replaced by Leon King.

Balogun has taken to his social media pages to celebrate his return to action.

“It’s been a long time and I’m so happy to finally be back home,” Balogun wrote.

The former Brighton & Hove Albion player was part of the provisional squad named by Nigeria interim coach Augustine Eguavoen for the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon but he was ruled out owing to the injury.

Nigeria have already qualified for the Round of 16 after winning all their Group D matches – 1-0 against Egypt, 3-1 against Sudan, and 2-0 against Guinea-Bissau. The Super Eagles will now face Tunisia in the Round of 16 fixture at Roumde Adjia Stadium on Sunday.