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FIFA U-20 World Cup: The Gambia take down France, clinch spot in knockout stages

The Gambia are through to the knockout stages of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup following Thursday’s 2-1 victory over France in action from Group F. Mamin Sanyang’s 68th minute goal moved the Young Scorpions to the top of the group with a perfect six points from their two matches. Abdoulie Bojang’s side now have an opportunity to surpass the country’s best ever finish at the competition, a Round of 16 finish at the 2007 edition hosted by Canada in The Gambia’s only other appearance.

After an opening ten minutes that featured opportunities for both teams, The Gambia took the lead in the 13th minute. A poor pass out of the back by the French defense was intercepted and Adama Bojang’s shot deflected off goalkeeper Yann Lienard before ricocheting off Banhie Zoukrou and in for an own goal.

The Scorpions had an opportunity to double their lead early in the second half when a penalty kick was awarded but central defender and captain Alagie Saine had his spot kick well saved by Lienard. France seized on the momentum shift and equalized minutes later through Wilson Odobert, who headed a free kick service into the goal after Gambian goalkeeper Pa Ebou Dampha came out and failed to claim the ball.

The 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations runners-up would not be denied, however. In the 68th minute, Bayern Munich winger Mamin Sanyang was isolated with a French defender on the right wing and produced a stepover move to get past his marker before striking low past Lienard. The Gambia will face South Korea in their final Group F match on Sunday where a draw or victory will see the Scorpions progress as group winners.

Highlights of the match are below.

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