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Jallow goal gives Gambia the win over stingy South Sudan

An Ablie Jallow goal gave Gambia the edge over the Bright Stars of South Sudan on Saturday in Senegal to start their 2023 AFCON qualifying bid with three points. Jallow struck in the final seconds of the first half but it was a close match that saw South Sudan give the hosts and 2021 AFCON quarterfinalists all they could handle. The Scorpions will travel to Brazzaville next for a matchup against Republic of Congo and South Sudan will continue searching for their first points when they host Mali in Uganda.

The visitors looked more than capable of earning at least a point and lived up to manager Stefano Cusin’s prediction that they would give their opponents issues. South Sudan forward Valentino Yuel created a couple of opportunities with his dribbling runs, seeing efforts go off target in the 11th and 27th minutes. For Gambia it was Musa Barrow and Jallow who caused trouble for the South Sudanese defense with Jallow on the receiving end of a 21st minute Barrow cross but sending his volley attempt high over the bar.

However the Gambian dynamic duo would eventually find their way through and the decisive moment came just before halftime in the fourth minute of first half stoppage time. Barrow provided a sumptuous through ball to send Jallow behind the defense and the RFC Seraing winger finished with a clever outside of the foot flick past onrushing South Sudan goalkeeper Ramadan John.

John did better early in the second half to come out and deny Assan Ceesay after the Gambian forward was sent through with a quickly taken free kick. South Sudan came closest to leveling the match when a long throw-in from Ivan Wani bounced in the Gambian penalty area before Tito Okello flicked a looping header that forced keeper Baboucarr Gaye into an acrobatic save. South Sudan pushed hard for an equalizer but failed to carve out any clear shots on Gaye’s goal and Gambian supporters celebrated a narrow win when the final whistle arrived.

Highlights from Senegal are below.

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