senior national team Scorpions has won their first competitive match at home in
five years after defeating the Squirrels of Benin 3-1 in the match day five of
the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers played at the Independence Stadium in
Bakau on Saturday.
The game that witnessed a very low and poor turnout has seen Benin opened the scoring through Mounie Steve’s first half finish in the 34th minute just before Lamin Jallow equalize for the Scorpions in the 64th minute. Substitutes Baboucarr Jobe and Ablie Jallow gave the home team the victory in the 77th minute and in the stoppage time of the second half. The Scorpions last won a competitive match in September 2013 against Tanzania.
Head coach Tom Saintfiet expressed delights after winning the game against Benin to his boys’ ambition alive, noting that they need to win games if they want to qualify for AFCON.
“We have the ambition to win and if we need to keep the dream alive, we need to be winning games no matter how small or difficult the game might be,” he said.
He said they came into the game with the ambition to win which he said, is the reason they play attacking formation, adding that they were having the same ambition against Togo in which they were unfortunately defeated. “When we conceded the goal in the first half through Mounie Steve’s finish, we returned from the dressing room with some tactical changes not to draw but to win the match which eventually happened.”
The Gambia gaffer said he is very proud of his team, while praising his substitutes who came in and scored goals, adding they would also be hoping to make an away victory against Algeria to register first win in 35 years.
Benin coach Dussuyer Michel expressed disappointment for the final score-line, noting that they were expecting a tough game in Banjul. “We lost the game but The Gambia didn’t create much goal-scoring chances but punished us with the little chances they created,” he said.
He said it was very hard after conceding the equalizer which changed the mood of the game, adding that they know that the Gambian team depends on counter-attack using their pace attackers.
Meanwhile, The Scorpions is still bottom in group with 5 points behind Togo who is also with 5 points. Benin is occupying second position with 7 points, leveling with the leaders Algeria. Algeria was at the time of going to the press battling with Togo in the AFCON Match-day five.