Gambia were made to work hard by a very improved Djibouti side before winning 3-2 on penalties to Set Maiden Afcon 2021 Qualifiers Proper on Sunday 13th October, 2019 at the return leg of the preliminaries held at the Independence Stadium in Bakau,
Gambia who progressed by the skin of their teeth will be in Group D where they will face off with DR Congo, Gabon and Angola for a place in the 2021 Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The Scorpions will have their keeper Modou ‘Toldo’ Jobe to thank after he saved two penalties in the shootout while one went over. Man of the match Abdullahi Jallow, who also scored the equalizer in normal time was the hero scoring the decisive penalty to send the Gambians through.
Jobe gave Gambia a good head start saving Said Ismael’s penalty with Musa Barrow responding scoring the Scorpions’ first. However, skipper Omar Colley saw his penalty come off the crossbar just after Ali Yussuf had scored for Gambia to tie the game even.
Mahdi Hussein who had scored the opener in regular time for Djibouti then sent them 2-1 up on the spotkciks but Assan Ceesay responded for the Gambians. Ahmed Hassan Moussa then missed for Djibouti to give the home side a massive advantage.
However, they failed to take it with Dawda Ngum seeing his penalty saved by the Djibouti keeper to send the stadium into hushed silence. However, the Shoremen of the Red Sea failed to take in the favor missing their fifth kick.
Jallow stepped up to the pressure cooker for Gambia’s decider and made no mistake, scoring to send Gambia through.
The Gambia now advances to the Group stages of the Qualifiers Proper to join Angola, DR Congo and Gabon in Group D of the Afcon.Speaking to reporters after the game in a post match presser, Scorpions Coach Tom Saintfiet noted the fact that his side could have finished the job in regular time if “we had utilized our chances very well”. He said as a team, ” we created so many chances and we should have finished the game but we couldn’t score more than one.
I was expecting a win in both matches but it was difficult because we had one training session before the first leg and one before this game tonight. I am happy that we qualify and we have a chance to play in the next AFCON”, he said.Djibouti Coach Julien Mette said, he is very happy with the performance of his team and said they put up a great fight over the two legs. You can see we have a very young team with only one professional but we fought well. I am really proud of the performance of my team”, he concludes.