Perhaps this was a shock to the football world, against all odds, the Scorpions of the Gambia scored a late equaliser against the Eagles of Mali to maintain an unbeaten run in their maiden Africa Cup of Nations championship.
The outstanding Musa Barrow scored a late equalizer from the spot to cancel out Kone’s goal which was also a penalty.
A win for either side would have sufficed a passage to the round of 16 and as such, the Malians showed a performance that shows how much they want to prove their worth against The Gambia.
Mali dominated the possession throughout the first 45 but the two clear cut chances came from The Gambia as both Musa Barrow and Abdoulie Jallow saw their freekick crash off the frame.
Wary of The Gambia’s ambitions, Mali deservedly took the lead after a controversial VAR decision that penalised Ebou Adams for pulling down the eventual man of the match winner Bissouma, and forward Ibrahima Kone sent goalkeeper Modou Jobe to put the Eagles ahead with his second goal of the campaign.
Then it was only 11 minutes left and the Malians were defiant and hopeful of a victory until on the 90th minute when another VAR decision penalised Bissouma for a handball in the box and Bologna’s forward Musa Barrow got his first AFCON goal from the spot and earned The Gambia a vital point that keep them on top of the group.
Progression to the round of 16 looms large for both The Gambia and Mali who are on 4 points with a game remaining. In the meantime, the lowest-ranked AFCON team The Gambia are enjoying somewhat a roller coaster run at the group stage.
ÅIn a post match interview, the Malian Coach, Mohomed Magassouba said: ” We were the victims of ourselves. without knowing, we underestimated our opponents and this match is a great lesson in humanity that we will never forget.”
One might ask what is working so right for The Gambia, perhaps their determination to prove the pundits wrong, coupled with their commitment to their style of play and respect for their opponents.