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Sunday, June 23, 2024


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Substitute Hamza Barry scored in the sixth minute of added time as Gambia beat South Sudan 3-2 in a five-goal thriller in Suez, to keep alive their hopes of qualifying to the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations.

South Sudan had rallied twice from a goal down to draw 2-2 with a 91st minute goal from Peter Chol, but Barry’s goal late on saw The Scorpions earn victory and move second in Group G with nine points, three clear of Congo who play leaders Mali in the other group match.

With three points, South Sudan’s dreams of a maiden qualification to the Cup of Nations have been dashed and will now only play the last group match as a formality.

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Both sides needed a win at all costs to keep their hopes alive, and it was Gambia who would settle their nerves first, earning a third minute lead courtesy of a Rehan Malong own goal. The defender looped the ball beyond his own goalkeeper as he attempted to clear a freekick from Musa Barrow.

Barrow should have made it 2-0 for Gambia just two minutes later, but his shot from a cutback on the left was just wide.

Malong’s day ended early as he was hooked out for Emmanuel Peter Loki after just 18 minutes.

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South Sudan rallied and drew level in the 21st minute when Yuel Kuach thumped the ball home from inside the box off Ajak Chol’s cross. The Australia based winger did well to outmuscle Omar Colley of the ball on the left before cutting back a cross that Kuach side-footed home.

Kuach almost made it 2-1 for South Sudan in the 32nd minute when he curled a decent effort from the edge of the box, but his effort came cracking under the bar.

With a 1-1 score at the break, the tie was still within reach for either side, but it was Gambia who came back hungrier in the second half. In the 58th minute, they had a clear chance when a cross from Ibou Omar Tourray rolled across the face of goal with Assan Ceesay and Ebrima Colley missing to give it a mere touch into an empty net.

They however had their goal in the 61st minute courtesy of a brilliant strike from Ablie Jallow. The FC Metz midfielder drove to the edge of the box, with his eventual shot blocked, but on the second bite of the cherry, found the back of the net.

South Sudan fought to try and get at least a point from the duel and they were rewarded in the 91st minute when Chol headed home from a corner after the keeper missed his attempted catch.

But, their slim hopes of remaining afloat were dashed in the last minute of added time when Barry scored with a shot from inside the box, picking the rebound after Jallow’s initial effort came off a defender inside the box.

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