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Gambia caps historic moment with win over Mauritania in AFCON debut

The Scorpions of Gambia marched on to a 1-0 victory over Mauritania at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, announcing their intentions to qualify for the knockout rounds out of Group F. Ablie Jallow’s delightful strike from distance moved Gambia into a tie for first place with Mali ahead of a fascinating showdown between the two teams on Sunday. Meanwhile, Mauritania will likely need a result in their next match against Tunisia to have any result of advancing.

Gambia came out with plenty of energy and the players were ready for the occasion, looking to get forward and run at the Mauritanian defense. By the ten-minute mark, it was indeed the Scorpions who found an inspired early strike. Musa Barrow collected the ball and quickly directed a low pass to find Jallow centrally outside the Mauritanian penalty area. The RFC Seraing forward hit a beauty that flew by keeper Babacar Diop and inside the post for a deserved lead.

The Mauritanian team gathered themselves and attempted to wrestle back control of the match, but found it difficult to make an impact in advanced areas. Forwards Aboubakar Kamara and Pape Ibnou Ba each had a look on the Gambian goal towards the end of the opening half, but failed to find the net and Gambia had the lead when the halftime whistle arrived.

It was more of the same following the break as Mauritania continued to lack any quality on the final ball. Gambia had an excellent chance to double their lead in the 52nd minute when center back Omar Colley headed wide from an Ebrima Colley free kick with Diop clearly beaten. The Scorpions held out and managed the game well to clinch three points, leading to joyous celebrations on the sideline from the Gambia team.

Highlights of the game are below.

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