The Scorpions of The Gambia and the Teranga Lions of Senegal were last evening held to a goal-less draw as both teams' campaign for qualification in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup championships intensifies.
The game, which began at 5pm local time at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, saw both teams engaged each other on knife-edge as the quality of football produced could, at best, be described as top-notch.
The Scorpions, probably taking advantage of home environment, were combative and tactful in their approach to the ball. They virtually dominated the 90-minute of play, launching series of assault and skirmishes into the opponents' backyard. However, the Scorpions could not optimally utilize their many clear-cut chances as they failed to convert them to goals. Njogu Demba, Norway-based Gambian star, was close to sending the visitors packing after possessing the ball at the opponent's goal mouth in the second minute of play but a feeble ball touch saw Tony Sylva parry the ball away. This was one of his three clear goal-scoring opportunities.
In the eighth minute of play, the visitors invaded the Scorpions territory following a defensive breakdown but Henry Camara could not capitalise on the error as Robert Badjie was there in time to save the hosts from a home defeat.
The depleted Senegalese side were even more destabilised when Abdou Kader Mangane was sent out in the 30th minute of play.
Ebrima Sawaneh and Pa Saikou Kujabi were also close to scoring in the 67th and 52nd minutes of play respectively.
The visitors, however, turned the table, destabilising the Scorpions' line of defense with Diomansy Kamara spearheading most of the assaults.
Meanwhile, speaking in a post-match press briefing session, the Head Coach of the Lions of Senegal, Monsieur Lamine Ndiaye, described the game as good despite his team being down by one man. He added that his team was all out to win in
"I really have a big respect for the Gambian side for there is no underdog now when it comes to football. We have been saved by Tony Sylva for defending most of the balls. The Scorpions are a good side and were playing at home," he added.
The Gambian Coach Paul Put, for his part, expressed delight in the performance of his boys but added that the Lions had an advantage over the Scorpions in terms of physique. The Lions, he went on, were further aided by their experience as most of their players were plying their trade in recognised and highly competitive leagues.
Ebou Sillah, the Captain of the Scorpions, said the team did all what they can but that goals were not forthcoming, adding that the outcome of the game did not in any way dampen their team spirit and said that he was hopeful the Scorpions will win their next match with
The Lions' Captain, Tony Sylva, was optimistic that things would be different when they host the Scorpions in October of this year.
The draw between