- Saturday, 24 March 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The 2010/2011 Gambia First Division Champions Brikama United on Saturday afternoon hosted 24-time Tunisian league champions Espérance Sportive de Tunis at the Brikama Box Bar mini-stadium in the First round of the 2012 CAF Champions League qualifying rounds.
The visitors started as the brighter side as they opened the scoring as early as in the third minute of play through their captain Wajdi Bouazzi. Bouazzi capitalized from a defensive blunder thereby giving the away fans something to cheer about.
But their lead didn’t last long as Brikama United’s Musa Bojang leveled the scores nine minutes later after nodding in a powerful header from Saikou Omar Sawo’s free kick cross thereby beating Moez Ben Cherifia at goal for Espérance.
Brikama started dominating the game and playing some quick counter attacking football but they weren’t able to break through a strong and physical Espérance back four made of by Bilel Ben Brahim, Aymen Ben Amor, Idrissa Coulibaly and Walid Hichri.
Iheb Msakni had the chance to increase the tally for his team in the 40th minute but he wasn’t able to beat past Baboucarr Sanyang who stood his ground and punched Msakni’s effort for a corner. The first period ended 1-1.
The second half was all Espérance’s as the home side failed to create any meaningful chance. In the 55th minute, Espérance’s 22-year-old Cameroonian attacker Hervé Yannick N’Djeng, had a perfect chance to double the lead for his team but his poor nodded ball was too easy for Sanyang to perfectly grip.
Both teams introduced some fresh legs as there were tired ones inside the pitch. Espérance coach Michel Decastel introduced Harrison Afful and Youssef Msakni in place of Iheb Msakni and Mohamed Ali Slama while the Brikama coach Sulayman Kuyateh introduced Sarjo Fadera and Nabi Darboe in place of Modou Jallow and Musa Bojang respectively.
Brikama’s influential striker Foday Trawally had a brilliant chance to put his team ahead in the 62nd minute after receiving a low cross from second half substitute Nabi Darboe, Foday tried to dink the ball past Ben Cherifia but Cherifia stood his ground and put the ball out for a corner.
The final 15 minutes of the game was all Espérance’s as they created chance upon chance but were unlucky to beat Baboucarr Sanyang who was one of Brikama’s top performer on the day. It ended 1-1 at full time with Brikama having it all to do in the second leg scheduled to take place on the 6-8 April.
Qualification ties are decided over two legs, with aggregate goals used to determine the winner. If the sides are level on aggregate after the second leg, the away goals rule is applied, and if still level, the tie proceeds directly to a penalty shootout (no extra time is played).
The winner of this tie will either face Mozambican team Liga Muçulmana or Dynamos Football Club of Zimbabwe in the second and final round of the qualifiers with the first leg scheduled to take place on 27-29 April.