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Jermain Defoe picks up injury as Rangers earn friendly draw against Arsenal

By July 17, 2021No Comments

Rangers twice threw away the lead to draw 2-2 with Arsenal in their Ibrox friendly, but a first-half injury to veteran striker Jermain Defoe may give the Scottish champions cause for concern ahead of the new season.

Around 2,000 Gers fans returned to the Govan stadium for the first time since coronavirus restrictions began in March 2020, and they cheered defender Leon Balogun opening the scoring in the 14th minute with a header from a James Tavernier corner.

Nuno Tavares, the Portuguese left-back signed from Benfica and making his Gunners debut, rifled in a leveller from close range on 22 minutes, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed an earlier chance, headed a cross from Cedric Soares wide.

Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was then called into action to save from Folarin Balogun.

After Defoe pulled up and limped off to be replaced by Scott Wright, defender Calvin Bassey cleared a close-range shot from Aubameyang off the line.

Arsenal, managed by former Gers midfielder Mikel Arteta, made five interval substitutions, one of which saw the introduction of former Celtic defender Kieran Tierney.

McGregor made saves from Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe as the slick-moving north London outfit continued to dominate the ball before both sides made a host of changes.

Rangers striker Cedric Itten headed in a corner from fellow substitute Glenn Middleton in the 75th minute and another replacement, Stephen Kelly, blasted a shot straight at Arsenal substitute keeper Karl Hein.

However, in the 83rd minute, Arsenal sub Eddie Nketiah levelled with a drive from 10 yards after slack defending from the home side, although from an Ibrox perspective, with a new league campaign and Champions League qualifiers looming, the injury to Defoe will perhaps be more of a worry.

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