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Jallow’s last-second rocket lifts Gambia over timid Tunisia

Ablie Jallow’s second goal at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations stole a victory for Gambia in the final seconds of their Group F clash against Tunisia, sealing second place for the Scorpions on Thursday. A Tunisia team with numerous Covid-19 absences was able to keep the Gambian attack in check until the RFC Seraing forward collected a cross and blasted in as Gambia’s impressive run continues. Gambia will face Guinea in the Round of 16 while Tunisia, advancing as one of the best third-place teams, will face Nigeria.

Tunisian media speculated that due to the absence of multiple key players, manager Mondher Kebaier would come out in a defensive setup and their predictions were confirmed. The Carthage Eagles played cautiously and looked to control possession as often as they could throughout the match. For the most part they were successful and Gambia struggled to get much going forward in the first half.

A couple of opportunities came Tunisia’s way in the opening 45 minutes. In the 15th minute, fullback Ali Abdi made a run down the flank and was able to cut inside, seeing his deflected shot go wide of the Gambian goal. The end of the half saw Tunisia come closest when striker Seifeddine Jaziri collected a shot rebound on the right wing and was taken down in the penalty area by Gambia captain Pa Modou Jagne for a spot kick. Jaziri took the kick but saw his effort well anticipated and saved by AFCON debutant Baboucarr Gaye in the Gambia goal.

The second half also did not feature too many clear chances but Gambia were able to venture forward more successfully. Musa Barrow has come close on his free kick attempts in Cameroon with one nearly being a moment of genius against Mali, but once again the Bologna forward just missed out with his 25-yard free kick rattling off the woodwork.

Gambia’s breakthrough came on a moment of magic from Jallow in the third minute of second half stoppage time. Barrow received the ball on the left wing and sent in a cross that floated to just inside of the Tunisian penalty area for Jallow to take down. The 23-year-old then unleashed a blast to beat Bechir Ben Saïd at his near post and sent the team and its supporters into ecstasy.

Highlights are below.

45’+1- Gaye stops Jaziri penalty just before halftime

74′- Barrow unleashes free kick blast that rattles the upright

90’+3- Jallow gives Gambia all three points in the final seconds

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