A dramatic turn of events at the Grand Stade de Marrakech, Morocco saw Gambia secure a dramatic qualification to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 following their 2-2 draw with Congo on Sunday night.
Needing just a point to secure their place in next year’s continental showpiece, the Scorpions had to come back from two goals down to salvage a draw and go through to their second TotalEnergies AFCON in history.
With Mali having already wrapped up their qualifiers campaign, it was left to the two sides to determine who would be the second team from Group G to make it through.
Unexpectedly so, Congo found the opener in the 34th minute after a quick break in transition saw Prestige Mboungou send a delightful cross to the near post that found Gaius Makouta, who did well to shield the ball from his marker and toe-poke the ball into the net.
The goal seemed to put the Gambian defense in disarray as they struggled to keep possession from the onrushing Congolese attack.
With just minutes to the break, Congo doubled their lead to the disbelief of Gambia when their skipper, Omar Colley handled the ball in the penalty area for the referee to point to the spot kick, as Silvere M’boussy stepped up to extend the lead.
Coming back from the break, the Scorpions tried to get back into the game with most of their attacks being orchestrated by the trio of Ebrima Colley, Assan Ceesay and Musa Barrow.
Beni Makouana could have put the match beyond reach after a well-threaded ball saw the midfielder through on goal as he did well to go around the keeper, but his right footed strike came off the upright in the 54th minute.
Congo remained resolute for the better part of the second stanza, but their defense was eventually breached in the 79th minute when Yankuba Minteh pulled one back to instill hope in his side after an assist from substitute, Muhammed Badamosi.
With time not on their side, a goal was just enough for the Scorpions to scrape through, and they did just that in the 90th minute thanks to Badamosi again who rose above his markers to head into the bottom corner from a Musa Barrow cross.
The result sees Gambia secure a place in Cote d’Ivoire along with Mali, while Congo and South Sudan miss out.