Gambia came from behind to beat Ghana 2-1 to qualify for the quarterfinals of the 2021 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Mauritania Monday night.
Abdul Fatawu’s curler just outside the area gave the Black Satellites the lead inside the first eight minutes before the Young Scorpions came back with goals from Kajally Drammeh and Lamarana Jallow to win the West Africa derby at the Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou.
The victory sends the Gambia to the knockout stage for the first time in 14 years when they finished third at the 2007 edition in Congo Brazzaville; they will face the Central African Republic in the quarterfinals. The Black Satellites also qualified for the last eight to face Cameroon in Nouakchott.
The Gambia came into Monday’s match knowing they needed to beat the Ghanaians to qualify after the results in Group B.
The highly charged match lived up to its billing as the two sides showed purpose and zeal to go for the points in Nouadhibou.
Gambia goalkeeper Lamin Saidy was called to action early on, the Real de Banjul shot-stopper tipped over Fatawu’s dipping free-kick after 5 minutes.
Fatawu broke the deadlock with a stunning curler after 8 minutes to give the Black Satellites the lead, the Steadfast FC attacking midfielder beat two defenders before firing into the top corner.
The Scorpions responded with a close-range header from Kajally Drammeh, the diminutive winger headed in Ebou Camara’s cross past the keeper to level the score after 15 minutes.
The Gambia scored the second after the half-hour mark, Lamarana Jallow hammered in a free-kick past the keeper to give the Young Scorpions the lead.
Lamin Saidy pulled a brilliant save to deny Percious Boah with a strong block, the keeper used his legs to keep out the striker’s low drive after he was played in by Fatawu.
The second saw the two sides cancel each other before the Gambia were reduced to ten men after Ebou Camara was sent off for a second booking late on.
The Gambia will now take on debutants Central African Republic in the quarterfinals in Nouakchott whiles Ghana will face Cameroon in the last eight.