- Sunday, 03 June 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The Scorpions of The Gambia welcomed the Atlas Lions of Morocco for the opening Group C match of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign on Saturday, 2nd June at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
Morocco, another country to make an unexpected first round exit from the Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, drew 1-1 in Gambia with Houssine Kharja equalizing after Abdou Jammeh struck early for the Scorpions.
The visitors started the game brilliantly with some quick counter-attacking football and nearly took the lead in the 10th minute when Adil Hermach found himself in Gambia’s half but his shot outside of Gambia’s18 just went over the cross-bar.
The Scorpions were more cautious at the back and gave their opponents the maximum respect needed. They went ahead with a goal in the 15th minute through Kuwait based defender Abdou Jammeh alias Tea Boy thanks to Demba Savage’s freekick, stunning their more illustrious opponents.
Yassine Salhi should have given the visitors the equalizer in the 26th minute but could only watch as his shot went over the cross-bar. Salhi had another brilliant opportunity to level the scores for his side in the 35th minute but this time around, he was denied by goalkeeper Christopher Allen who parried his shot away.
hristopher Allen had to make another save ten minutes later by tipping Houssine Kharja’s freekick over the crossbar. Gambia headed into the break with the advantage.
Coming into the second half, Pa Modou Jagne got the chance to increase the score for his side but he could just watch as his shot just sailed past Nadir Lamyaghri’s goal. Captain Mustapha Jarju’s 55th minute freekick was easily saved by Lamyaghri.
Ten minutes later, the Moroccans nearly found their equalizer after Ayoub El Khaliqi found a breach in the Gambian area during a goalmouth scramble but his backheel was neatly saved by Allen.
The North Africans used all three substitutes within 20 minutes of the restart in an effort to get back into the match, and on 76 minutes, they finally scored through Kharja to make it 1-1 and secure a valuable away point in what is a tough group.
Meanwhile, Cote D’Ivoire beat Tanzania 2-0 in the second round qualifying of the 2014 World Cup played at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
The Scorpions’ next match is away to Tanzania on June 10th, while Morocco hosts group favourites Cote d’Ivoire the day before.