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Coach Tarik: Our Chances Were Not Utilised in the First Half

Mar 31, 2008, 8:02 AM | Article By: By Ebou Manneh

After seeing his side struggle to equalise against Mauritania, the Head Coach of The Gambia national home based team, Tarik, has said that the opportunities that his side had during the first half were not utilized. The Egyptian coach made these remarks after the Mauritania side held the Gambian team to a 1-1 draw at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Saturday 29thMarch 2008.

The game started with The Gambia having the first chance in the 2ndminute through striker Sainey Touray but he could not find the back of the net. The second chance came in the 6thminute when striker Abdou Darboe got the chance to put The Gambia in the lead but made a poor finish in front of goal.

Thirteen minutes later, Mauritania took advantage of the poor midfield composure of The Gambia and got their first chance. They could not however find the target. In the 15thminute, The Gambia had the chance of scoring through Samba Bah from a powerful 22-metre free kick but were denied by the post. Sainey Touray was on target again in the 22ndminute but the opponents provet to be solid and guarded their line confidently.

Ould Katry put his side on the lead in the 28th minute after a miss kick by defender Samba Bah, and the visitors took the lead.

The second half kicked off with an exciting display. The Mauritanian, team played like the home side. They knocked the ball neatly around the midfield and forced The Gambia to chase not only an equaliser but also the ball itself.

Modou Lamin Sillah equalised in the 57thminute to put The Gambia back in the race .The Gambia were by far the better team but the Mauritanian team was more organised than their Gambian opponents.

The introduction of Habib Kunta gave The Gambia more advantage as it seemed that what was lacking in the middle of the Gambian team was a playmaker. He could not turn the game in favour of The Gambia and the game ended 1-1 all draw.As things stand, The Gambia will find it difficult in their return leg in two weeks time in Nouakchout as it is the team who are now confident that will make it to the next stage.

The Gambia's coach Tarik expressed the need to adjust his team in preparation for the second leg and he is hopeful that by the help of God he will win in Nouakchout.

Reacting to the game, Head Coach of Mauritania, Alain Moizan, said it is the first time for him to lead the team and he did not know the team yet but he got what he was looking for.He said that the team is comprised of 10 players from the U20 team and 9 currently playing in the senior team. "So it is a new team and very young team that we are building," he explained.

Coach Moizan said the Gambian team is a very strong team but they are going to be prepared for the return leg where they will be playing on a better pitch better than the Gambian pitch.

Speaking to football fans after the game who expressed their disappointment, one Baboucarr Saidy said that he was not impressed with the selection and the fixture of the team, he said that the team was very weak in midfield and in defense too. "I can't understand how Ousman Colley is being used in the our Midfield! He always played for his team as a defender. Our defence was weak. I used to watch the domestic league and I was surprised to see the Samba Bah and Sainey Ceesay being used in our defence while we have players like Ebrima Jatta of Hawks on the bench. Our football now is not by name but on who delivers in the league". Many others expressed the same sentiment. Mr. Gibba also said that selection should not be done at home and that the people who are appointed should go to football matches to watch the games to select the best players not by names.

Meanwhile it will be recalled that Mauritania never won in Banjul but drew goal less in Banjul in the year 2000. The Gambia's last victory over Mauritania was in 2003 when the Scorpions team trashed them by 4 - 1 in Banjul.