Bubacarr ‘Steve’ Trawally scored his first international goal for TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations 2021 quarterfinalist The Gambia as they edged Chad in the 2023 AFCON preliminaries.
The fan’s favorite came off the bench to secure the West African side the first-leg advantage with a brilliant effort just outside the area on the stroke of full-time at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The Scorpions dominated possession against the limited Sao of Chad but lacked the cutting edge to turn their dominance into goals.
Young defender James Gomez who started in defense alongside captain Bubacarr Sanneh glanced Musa Barrow’s delivery just wide off the Chadian goal 12 minutes into the match.
The former Real de Banjul FC and Young Scorpions captain was solid as Saintfiet’s team kept a clean sheet.
Casimir Ninga saw his set-piece come off the Scorpions side netting midway through the first half before Assan Ceesay dragged his left-footed effort agonizingly wide off Sao’s goal.
The Gambians forced Chad to defend deeper into their half giving Musa Barrow and Ebrima Darboe time and space to link up down the left channel.
The Italian-based duo combined ten minutes before the break with AS Roma’s playing in Bologna’s Barrow whose effort was blocked by the keeper before Assan Ceesay’s rebound was cleared off the line.
Musa Barrow who was named in the TotalEnergies AFCON 2021 Team of Group Stage forced a smart low one-handed save from Coton Sports stopper Gadin Allambatna on the stroke of halftime.
With the score goalless Saintfiet turned to his bench to introduce Bubacarr Trawally and Muhammed Sanneh for Ebrima Darboe and the injured Ebrima Colley.
Trawally came close to breaking the deadlock when he was played in by Ibou Touray on 75 minutes before cutting in to fired just wide.
The Ajman forward missed another opportunity seven minutes from time heading Muhammed Sanneh’s inviting delivery just wide before grabbing his first Scorpions goal on his fifteenth appearance.
Trawally found Barrow who returned the favor with a clever pass center of the Chadian goal allowing Trawally to stylishly beat the defense before picking the bottom corner.
The Gambia will look to book their place in the group stages of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 qualification campaign when they host Chad on Tuesday, 29 March in Agadir, Morocco.