By: Babucarr Fallaboweh
The Gambia opened their 2023 African Nations qualifying campaign with a slim 1-0 over South Sudan courtesy of an Ablie Jallow goal.
The scorpions who were playing in Thies due to a stadium ban were much better in the first exciting encounter.
Assan appealed for a penalty when he was wrestled down by the captain of the bright star but the referee wasn’t convinced as he waved play on.
The scorpions continued to surge for an opener and came close in the 20th minute when Musa Barrow’s cross landed at Ablie Jallow’s foot but the Metz player shot went off target.
Assan again saw a golden opportunity slide through his feet after a brilliant cross from James Gomez.
The first half was heading for a barren draw until the extra minutes of the additional time when a brilliant pass from Musa Barrow was not cleared by the goalkeeper, with Ablie Jallow reacting early to put the ball into the net for his fifth international goal for the scorpions.
South Sudan came more determined in the second half and had better possession though they failed to translate it into goals.
They hit the woodwork as they piled pressure on the Scorpions.
They kept on threatening the Scorpion’s vital area and in one instance goalkeeper Gaye pulled a superb save to deny them the equalizer.
Tom Saintfiet who was leading the scorpions in his 32nd official match brought on Lamin Jallow for Ebrima Darboe in the 79th minute before also throwing Abdoulie Sanyang in the fray for Assan Ceesay in the 88th minute.
Before being substituted, Assan came close to doubling the scorpion’s lead only for his effort to go inches away.
The scorpions will now head to Congo for their second match on Wednesday.