With both teams having already accomplished their goal of qualifying for the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, Senegal overcame Gambia to win 1-0 in the final of the WAFU-Zone A qualifying competition in Mauritania on Sunday. Dynamo Kiev forward Samba Diallo scored the only goal of the match for the young Lions, who went undefeated on the strength of Diallo’s four goals as he finished top scorer. Both teams will be in Egypt for the AFCON U-20 finals that will start in February.
The Senegalese came out determined to impose their will as favorites but the Gambian defense made it difficult for Senegal to make a breakthrough. The young Scorpions kept the talented Senegalese attack at bay as both teams had opportunities in the first half with Papa Amadou Diallo coming closest for Senegal when his header looped over the goal in the final seconds of stoppage time. Gambia came close with a 22nd minute direct free kick coming back off the post with Senegal goalkeeper Mawour Ndiaye clearly beaten.
Senegal continued to apply pressure and seized control in the second half. Gambian goalkeeper Pa Edou Dampha had a comical error soon after the hour mark when he attempted to play the ball with his feet but Senegal failed to make him pay for miskicking the ball right to an attacker. However a Diallo to Diallo connection created the breakthrough only a minute later when Papa Amadou drove down the right wing to send in a cross that found Samba for an excellent diving header that bounced past Dampha for the game’s lone goal.
Highlights are below.