By Sulayman Bah It was a delightful return to international football for Gambia afterGAMBIA WINS 2 one-year six months of absence. Having received in CAf’s word, a deserved retribution for ‘deliberately’ running counter to football rules, Gambia’s return could not have been much anticipated.And choosing to step into the pitch and make a mark on their return, the Scorpions decided to have a go at Mauritania in preparation for the CHAN – a competition in which they were shockingly eliminated by the same Mourabitoune outfit seven years ago. Taking the kick-off at 7pm instead of 4:30pm, Saturday’s return to international football was not to go down without a grand touch, as Gambian singers Baiba Babou, Jali Madi and Manding Morry entertained the fans ahead of the commencement of the game. As a non-World Cup qualifier team like The Gambia, Mauritania treated the match with such seriousness calling up a number of their foreign-based players. As opposed to the hosts whose hastily arranged side comprised exclusively local-based players, Mauritania did not waste any time in imposing their authority by dominating the play and leaving the Scorpions to launch onslaughts on the counter. Watched by a somewhat impressive spectator turnout, Bonu’s side paid dearly for their lack of creativity in midfield. Uncompromising display from an all-defensive oriented midfield was Gambia’s reply to Mauritania’s daring. The Scorpions trotting under immense pressure couldn’t have been luckier in the 22nd minute when an unmarked Ebou Kanteh headed the ball into an empty net for what would be the home side’s decisive lone goal after kamikaze defending from the Mourabitounes. It was only then that Bonus’ charges had some possession under their belt. Gambia’s Mass Manga had a goal disallowed by the referee. The Mauritanians had been impressive in their play but did not get to hand a real test to goalkeeper Christopher Allen until in the second-half. Ismail Diakite swung in a teasing effort from the right side of the Gambian half which the Gambia Ports Authority goalkeeper parried. The ex-Gambia U-20 man again matched up to the resultant rebound shot. Gambian skipper for the night Abdoulie Jatta responded with a free-kick which hit the wood work. The visitors applied urgency to their already flowing style and that meant a catalogue of attempts at Allen’s goal mouth, but the Gambian net-minder was equal to the task each time. It was Gambia’s first win in eighteen months since it played against Tanzania in the World Cup qualifiers.]]>

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