Zungu makes first Premiership start as Hamilton Academical deny Rangers victory

The South Africa midfielder was handed a starting spot in Steven Gerrard’s team for the first time in a league match

Bongani Zungu made his first Premiership start on Sunday as Hamilton Academical held Rangers to a 1-1 draw.

The 28-year-old, who is on loan from Amiens, came off the bench as a substitute in his last 11 outings in the Scottish top-flight before Steven Gerrard handed him a rare spot at the Fountain of Youth Stadium on Sunday.

Rangers were on the verge of securing all three points at Hamilton after Brian Easton scored an own goal in the 80th minute but Ross Callachan denied them victory with his late equaliser in stoppage-time.

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FULL-TIME: Hamilton 1-1 Rangers pic.twitter.com/J9wMYiDHEM

— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) February 7, 2021

Zungu joined Super Eagles star Joe Aribo and Glen Kamara in the middle of the park, and he was in action for 60 minutes before he was replaced by Ryan Jack.

During the encounter, the Bafana Bafana midfielder made two key passes and managed just a clearance but he neither registered a shot nor completed a tackle.

Aribo, however, played the entire duration while his compatriot Leon Balogun watched on as an unused substitute for the fourth straight game.

Balogun is yet to play for the Gers since their 1-1 draw against Motherwell on January 17.

Despite his recent inactivity, Gerrard reiterated his faith in the Nigeria defender with the club waiting to trigger the extension clause in his contract.

“We have six centre backs at the moment but that won’t be the case in the summer,” he said.

“Leon has something in his contract that might trigger on its own in the coming weeks.

“But we don’t have to wait for that because we are really happy with the player and I want him around for next season anyway.”

Rangers still remain at the top of the Premiership table despite the single point they picked up at the Fountain of Youth Stadium.

With 76 points after 28 matches, they hold a 21-point lead above second-place Celtic while Hamilton Academical remain rooted at the bottom with 20 points from 26 matches.

Gerrard’s men will be looking to extend their unbeaten league run to 29 matches when they host Kilmarnock at Ibrox Stadium on February 13.

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