Balogun sees red as Olayinka leads Slavia Prague past Rangers

Getty Images

Leon Balogun was shown the red card as Rangers crumbled 2-0 at home to Slavia Prague in Thursday’s Europa League encounter.

Following a second caution at the Ibrox Stadium, the Nigeria international got his marching orders from referee Orel Grinfeld.

Balogun had earlier been cautioned in the 18th minute, however, he got the second of the encounter following a horror tackle on Lukas Masopust.

His teammate Kemar Roofe – who was a 55th minute replacement for Scott Arfield - was shown a straight red 12 minutes earlier following a serious foul play against Ondrej Kolar.

The Jamaican forward stamped his stud on the face of the visitors’ goalkeeper during a goal-bound move.

This is the first time the Scottish Premiership giants have had two players sent off in a single game in a major European competition.

Having played a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Round of 16 clash at the Sinobo Stadium, Steven Gerrard’s men needed just a win or a 0-0 draw at least to qualify for the quarter-final, nevertheless, they were unable to stop the strong-willed Czech First League outfit.

14 minutes into the encounter Nigeria’s Peter Olayinka handed the Red and Whites a well-deserved lead – heading past goalkeeper Allan McGregor a delightful cross from Jan Boril.

The hosts tried all they could to level matters but having two of their players shown the way out depleted their fighting spirit.

A minute after Balogun’s dismissal, Nicolae Stanciu scored the important second goal to hand Jindrich Trpisovsky’s side a vital away victory and prevailing 3-1 on aggregate.

Article continues below

Nigeria’s Joe Aribo was in action from start to finish for Rangers, albeit, his presence could not rescue his side from elimination. Whereas, South African midfielder Bongani Zungu was brought in for Alfredo Morelos with eight minutes to full time.

For Slavia Prague, Olayinka was substituted for Masopust in the 58th minute, while Cote d'Ivoire's defender Simon Deli and Senegalese forward Abdallah Sima were on parade from start to finish.

Having crashed out of the European club championship, Rangers will shift their attention to the Scottish Premier League where they have been declared as champions of the 2020-21 campaign.