Thursday, March 1, 2012

Algeria in crucial away win against Gambia

The win is crucial going into June return leg in Algiers
Algeria grabs a crucial away win over the Gambia in Wednesday’s first leg preliminary rounds of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 qualifiers.

The Desert Foxes of Algeria came from behind to beat the Scorpions of the Gambia 2-1 at the Independence Stadium in Banjul on February 29, 2012. The win gives the visitors a significant advantage over their opponents going into the return leg in June.

In front of nearly 30, 000 local fans, Switzerland-based MK Zelina striker Momodou Ceesay rounded off Algerian defender, Masba Djmel Eddina at the near post and fires a low shot to the far bottom-right corner of the post (1-0).

Ceesay’s opener gave Gambia the much needed lead in the 26th minute and helping to ward off earlier threats from the Algerians, who saw two attempts on goal denied by the post. To the dismay of the Algerians, Lacon Madlin Gregory’s shot was denied by the post and Guedioura Adlane’s 8th minute follow-up volley into the post denied by Malian referee Koman Coulibally.

The Malian referee, supported by his country-mates (assistant referees) also dismiss penalty claims by Gambian striker, Ousman Jallow in the 25th minute. Jallow was brought down in the penalty box by Algerian skipper, Antar Yahia.

Four minutes later, Ousman Jallow beat his marker and finds Sanna Nyassi whose near post chip was just too high to give the home side a second goal. Algerian striker Aoudia Mohamed responded with a half-volley in the 31st minute but his effort went high.

With the pressure mounting on Gambia’s defence, Algeria’s defender Majid Boughera came close to leveling the score after he rose with a powerful header against the post. 

The scorpions intensified their search for more goals in 2nd half but the final touch has always been poor, as Sanna Nyassi made a weak header from Ousman Jallow’s short-cross in the 46th minute, while midfielder Ebrima Sohna headed off the post Captain Mustapha Jarju’s free-kick in the 49th minute.

A wonderful inter-change of passes from the Algerian players deep into the Gambian half resulted in a corner, and goalkeeper Musa Camara was forced to pay for mishandling the ball at the mouth of his goal, leaving Algerian skipper, Antar Yahia with a 53rd minute cool finish (1-1). 

Gambia’s Coach Peter Bonu Johnson introduced American-based New England Revolution midfielder, Abdoulie Mansally two minutes later to reinforce his attacking options but his tactics did little to turn the game against the Algerians.

A wonderful righted-footed thunderous shot from the edge of the penalty box by Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli was enough to punish relaxed-Gambian defenders who were contemplating on a proposed substitution in the 56th minute (Score: 1-2). 

The hardworking Algerian Spanish-based Valencia midfielder, Sofiane Feghouli cuts across Gambia’s half but was brought down by at the edge of the penalty area by midfield opponent Ebrima Sohna and the resulting free-kick was no way near the post.

The introduction of Baboucarr Savage on his debut for the national team 63 minutes on in place of Ebrima Sohna, and Saihou Gassama replacing defender Kebba Ceesay, did little to seal Gambia’s permeable midfield. 

The Malian referee once again showed no interest in Momodou Ceesay’s penalty gamble 10 minutes before the final whistle. Ceesay had packed behind three Algerian defenders but went down too easily into the box.
Knowing that a task as huge as moving a mountain awaits them in Algiers in June, the scorpions pushes forward with Momodou Ceesay who won a free-kick for Gambia in the 91st minute but it was too little too late for them to come back into the game.

The win is Algeria’s first against Gambia away from home in five years. It all ended Gambia 1 – Algeria 2 at the Independence Stadium in Banjul. 

Author: Modou S. Joof
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