Thu, 29 Sep 2022

YAOUNDE, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Gambia made history on Wednesday after beating Mauritania 1-0 in their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign.

The Scorpions started the game in superb form at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium in Cameroon, as striker Ablie Jallow scored the only and stunning goal of the game in the 10th minute.

Mauritania made frantic attempts to equalize late in the first half but failed to seriously trouble Gambian goalkeeper Modou Jobe.

The Mourabitounes mobilized strongly in the second half but Gambia survived after waves of attack before the referee sounded the final whistle that sealed three points for the Gambia in Group F.

It was a moment of pride for the Gambians to win their first game and earn three points in their AFCON debut, while Jallow, who plays for Belgian first division club Seraing, scored the country's first-ever AFCON goal.

"We were the little thumbs, the outsiders, a small country but with quality players, competitors at heart," Gambian coach Tom Saintfiet told reporters after the game.

"We will try to win each match, by not putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We are realistic, the second game will be even more disputed. We won our first historic AFCON match. It's amazing what happens to us when we look in the rearview mirror."

In the other Group F game, Mali's Ibrahima Kone scored from the spot two minutes into the second half, securing a 1-0 victory over Tunisia though the match ended in chaos after the referee made a controversial decision to put the game off seconds before the end of regulation time. The Malians returned to the pitch to play the remaining time, while the Tunisians didn't.

Sunday sees Gambia face Mali, while Tunisia take on Mauritania.

Meanwhile, Cote d'Ivoire captain Max Gradel scored a beautiful winner to give the Elephants a victory in their first game of the AFCON against Equatorial Guinea at the Japoma Stadium in Douala Wednesday evening.

Cote d'Ivoire now tops Group E with three points. On Sunday, it will meet with Sierra Leone who played out a 0-0 draw with defending champion Algeria on Tuesday.

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