By Pa Barrow in Cameroon
The debutant Gambia continue their unbeaten run in the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations as former Hawks and Bologna forward Musa Barrow rescued a point from the spot in the 90th-minute to keep The Gambia’s hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.
Striker Ibrahima Koné gave Mali the lead in the 79th minutes from a controversial penalty after the interference of the video assistant referee (VAR) and the central referee gave Malian their second penalty in the competition with was perfectly converted by Koné.
The Gambia equally needed a VAR decision to level matters when substitute Ebrima Colley cross was handled by Mali midfielder Bissouma in the box and the Bologna’s forward Musa Barrow step up and levelled matters in the 90th-minutes.
Mali was hoping to use their 12 times appearance experience in the AFCON to their advantage against The Gambia but were left shocked when they shared the spoils with an inexperienced Gambia side.
Muhammed Magasuba the head of the Mali national team blame his players for taking the Gambia lightly.
“We were victims of ourselves. We underestimated our opponent and this match will be great lessons for us going forward and we will never forget the humility we face in this encounter” Magasuba said.
Tom Saintfiet the head coach of The Gambia said his side will continue to enjoy the moment in this competition. “We will continue to respect our opponents and stick to our game, we are now going to prepare for the next opponent in our final game and see what will happen at the end of the group stage”.
The Gambia will now face Tunisia on Thursday the 20th of January 2022 in their final group match. A point will secure a spot for The Gambia in the next round of the competition, while Mali will face Mauritania who are already out of the tournament.