Jul 31, 2012, 11:25 AM
The Gambia national U-17 team booked their place in the final rounds of the African U-17 qualifiers with an emphatic 3-1 win over Morocco in Banjul on a water -logged pitch on Saturday to complete a 3-2 aggregate despite a 1-nil defeat in Rabat a fortnight ago.
A brace from new captain Buba Jallow and another from Bakary Bunja Sanyang were all but enough to ensure that the two times African champions sealed their place in the final stage of the qualifiers to the delight of the Gambian people including the Youth and Sports Minister Sheriff Gomez.
It all started well for the Baby Scorpions when Buba Jallow, aka 'Melez', put The Gambia ahead in the 35th minute as he cleverly took full advantage of Gambia’s best chance.
In the twinkle of an eye, the Samger prolific forward hammered home from a penalty spot to help his team celebrate what appeared to be a turning moment for the defending champions in a titanic encounter.
Moment of individual brilliance from the Gambian side saw Jallow deliver a brilliant pass to strike-partner Yusupha Njie who received a hefty challenge from a Moroccan defender culminating in a penalty that Jallow, who played a key role in the U-17 team's success in Algeria, wasted no time to slot home, bring about the opener for the Gambian side.
Two minutes later, Jallow, who continued to give the North African side a good run for their money with some wonderful individual brilliance, could have doubled The Gambia's lead but his powerful long range effort was denied by the Moroccan goalkeeper Ezziah Younes mid-way through the first period with a world-class save.
The history-making Baby Scorpions with two African U-17 championship titles to their name could have scored more but poor finishing in the game prevented them from taking advantage of their superb chances and sending the Moroccan side home with more lashes.
The ever-determined Gambian team doubled their advantage with a solo-effort from right back Bakary Bunja Sanyang thanks to a wonderful teamwork in the 55th minute of a decisive and a mouth-watering encounter.
But it went bad for Sanyang and the team in the 68th minute when the offensive-minded right back put the ball into his own net which served as a consolation for Morocco while the Baby Scorpions went ahead to register their third goal of the game in a dramatic fashion courtesy of Buba Jallow’s solo-effort in the 15th minute to stoppage time.
The Gambia will rub shoulders with the winner between Tunisia and Sudan, an encounter in progress at the time of filing this report yesterday.