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The Baby Scorpions of The Gambia were hoping for progress to the semi-finals of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 9th Edition of the African U17 Championship in Rwanda, but a heavy defeat to a better prepared Ivory Coast has dashes all hopes and the team got sent packing.
The January 15 final-group-game show a dominant Ivory Coast taking the lead just 11 minutes, as Lago’s cross from the right wing was magnificently re-directed to the net by Diarrassouba.
Gambia, as Defending Champions responded with a Saloum Faal shot which was intercepted by goalkeeper Abubakr Ouattara and Yusupha Dawda Sarr’s follow-up deflected on an Ivorian defender 18 minutes into the game.
With just a minute left for the first half regulation time, industrious Koussi of Ivory Coast notch in a rebound from the near post to make it 2-0 in the 44 minute. The Gambian goalkeeper Bubacarr Sanyang had earlier on denied the Ivorians a low but thunderous shot towards goal.
The Gambia played too many unnecessary long balls into the opponents’ half but most of it went to the Ivorians, who settled for a large share of the ball possession in the first half.
The Gambian Coach has all-day-long been muted, prompting Gambia Radio’s Commentator Malick Jones to remark: “Coach Lamin Sambou has kept so much in his mouth that he cannot open it to say something here.”
On the contrary, Technical Assistant Ebrima Manneh was seen throughout the game giving instructions to the Baby Scorpions; however, his effort was reduced to nothing when Ivory Coast midfielder Lago puts his side 3-0 up with an easy effort from close range in the 61st minute.
Yusupha Dawda Sarr headed home again for The Gambia in the 71st minute, but this time, a consolation and not necessarily a winning goal, (3-1).
When all seemed to have been lost, Adama Sabally deliberately handled a goal-bound-ball to deter Ivory Coast from scoring a fourth goal, he got sent-off and Ivorian forward, Bedi, converted the penalty to wrap-up a well deserved 4-1 victory over Gambia in the 74th minute.
Bedi could have grabbed a second and his side’s fifth after he rounded-off Gambian goalkeeper Bubacarr Sanyang with 10 minutes remaining, but his shot deflected on a Gambian defender.
Gambia’s poor campaign recorded a 3-0 lost to Congo on January 9, followed by a 1-0 win over Mali on January 12, and then came a 4-1 defeat to Ivory Coast on January 15, 2011.
From Group B, Ivory Coast and Congo progresses to the semi finals as well as qualifies for the 2011 FIFA organised World Youth Championship to be held in Mexico this summer. Meanwhile, Gambia and Mali are out of the Championship.