Massive Joe Aribo boost for Rangers after surprise Nigeria defeat as two men clear to face Celtic

Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo could be available for the Ibrox club as early as Wednesday night after Nigeria’s surprise exit from the Africa Cup of Nations.
Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo is now free of Nigeria commitments.Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo is now free of Nigeria commitments.
Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo is now free of Nigeria commitments.

The Super Eagles were one of the favourites to win the tournament in Cameroon, but were defeated 1-0 by Tunisia in their last 16 tie on Sunday night in Garoua.

It means that Aribo, who has been one of Nigeria’s better players in the tournament, will head back to Glasgow in the next 24 hours and will not miss as many matches as Rangers first feared.

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Gers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst had been braced to be without Aribo for the cinch Premiership match at home to Livingston on Wednesday night, as well as the trip to Ross County on Saturday lunchtime and potentially the Old Firm clash with Celtic on February 2 had Nigeria got beyond the last eight.

However, a goal by Youssef Msakni on 47 minutes, a swerving shot that deceived Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, was enough to send the Tunisians into a quarter-final clash with Burkina Faso, who defeated Gabon earlier in the day on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Nigeria’s cause was not helped by a red card for substitute Alex Iwobi as they struggled to overcome a resolute Tunisia outfit that has been dealing with injury and Covid-19 issues.

Aribo played 89 minutes before being replaced by Ahmed Musa.

The news is a further boost for Van Bronckhorst, who earlier on Sunday discovered that striker Kemar Roofe has been surprisingly omitted from Jamaica’s squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Had Roofe been selected, he would have missed the club’s next three matches.

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