- Tuesday, 07 February 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The Sierra Leonean national women under 17 team put up an impressive performance to defeat The Gambia national women under 17 team 3-1 at home but it wasn’t enough to see them through to the second round stage of the qualifiers of the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s Championship in Azerbaijan.
Having lost the first round first leg encounter at the Independence Stadium in Banjul 3-0 on January 15th, the Sierra Leonean women needed to score at least four goals without reply in the return leg match in Makeni on Sunday to progress.
They tried very hard but didn’t succeed as they went out 4-3 on aggregate over the two legs. The match was largely dominated by the Sierra Leonean girls who pressurized their Gambian counterparts until the final whistle was blown and it reflected on the score-line. They even wasted about three clear scoring chances compared to The Gambians who created only one apart from the penalty they scored.
Savina Bunting, Adama Sesay and Jeneba Bangura were the goal scorers for Sierra Leone and Penda Bah accounted for Gambia’s lone goal. Striker Adama Sesay got the opener in the 24th minute when she finished up a scramble ball in the six-yard box from a free-kick from the right wing. She had another chance seven minutes later to increase their lead as she headed a corner kick over the cross bar.
The Gambian girls won a clear penalty when midfielder Hawanatu Kamara handled the ball in the box and was converted by Penda Bah in the 33rd minute before a second goal from Sierra Leone was controversially ruled out for an off-side six minutes to the break. But three minutes later, Sierra Leone got another goal and was not disallowed to restored their lead to 2-1 as Savina Bunting headed home in the six-yard box a cross from the right to seal the first half scoreline.
The Gambia goal keeper Aminata Gaye got injured and was substituted before half time by Mariama Ceesay who conceded a goal in the second half after the Sierra Leonean captain Hannah Conteh had wasted a golden opportunity as she watched her kick in the box went over.
Sierra Leone increased their lead to 3-1 in the 89 minute after defender Jeneba Bangura’s volley from about 32 yards off the goal line entered the net. They continued to search for at least two more goals but it was too late for them.
It finished 3-1 for Sierra Leone but it was The Gambia who qualified 4-3 on aggregate and will now face Tunisia in the second round stage of the qualifiers.
Neither side has reached the world finals before, which will ensure that a little history is made when both ties are played on 9 and 25 March.