May 13, 2014, 10:17 AM
The Gambia U-19 cadet team came from behind to hold hosts Italy to a one-all draw in match day 2, for the Junior Scorpions played at the Luzi Stadium in Gualdo Tadino on Wednesday.
Knowing what lies ahead of them in the second fixture, the Gambian lads pushed hard to find the back of the Italian net before the break but could not as they were forced to retreat in the centre with midfield maestro Hamza Barry doing all the gentle passes. Italy kept their composure at the back and nullified all danger passes in their defence.
Gamtel skipper Ali Sowe and GPA talismanic striker Dawda Sisoho both pushed forward to clear a congested Italian defence after Baboucarr Jammeh laid a thorough pass just right at the penalty area but the duo hesitated for a kick.
Italy shortly came into the game when Giovanni and Ricardo stamped their authority in the middle to avoid a Gambia control. However, Lamin Sarjo Samateh and Saloum Faal with a deadly left foot did good job to neutralise the Italian efforts who had less to frustrate Baka Ceesay at the goal.
First half ended goalless and Peter Bornu Johnson had to bring in Mamut Saine for Hamza Barry, who had a fantastic game.
Mamut’s earlier controls were not as promising but Samger’s youngster Sulayman Marreh’s introduction for Ebou Kanteh saw The Gambia re-energised before Italy could open the score in the 78th minute through defender Goldaniga Edoardo who ran acres of space to slot in a cross from Toccheto Jonathan both of whom played in the Italian Serie D.
The Gambia continued to effect changes in Ali Sowe for Brikama United’s Musa Bojang and Lamin Sarjo Samateh for Musa Jallow.
The combination was perfect as Sulayman Marreh with Baboucarr Maal Jammeh’s combination in the middle earned Saul a neatly controlled action just before the danger area and powered a thunderous shot punched away by goal keeper Federico and tapped in by Dawda Sisoho in the 86th minute for a consolation.
The game ended one-all and Italy will now play Slovenia on Thursday and would need to score enough goals to make them qualify to the finals for a third consecutive year.
In the other game played at the Umbertide Stadium on Wednesday, England lost 2 nil to San Marino.
The Gambia now stand out of the tournament after losing 2-0 in the opener to Slovenia but will not pack its boots as Head Coach Peter Bornu Johnson and his technical staff has announced that training matches would be played in the city to keep up the momentum of the boys before returning to Banjul on 14th as planned.