Debutants Gambia are making their own history at the Africa Cup of Nations with their latest feat being the elimination of Guinea 1-0 to claim a quarterfinal spot against hosts Cameroon, who broke the hearts of first-timers Comoros 2-1.
In the 71st minute, Musa Barrow’s slick goal proved to be the difference in a bruising encounter with Guinea, who were without their talisman Naby Keita. The Bologna player seized on a pass from Bobb and delivered a cool finish to score the only goal of the game. Barrow has scored a goal or provided an assist in all of Gambia’s matches in the tournament.
Guinea could never quite produce such incisiveness in front of the goalmouth but came close to an equalizer in an all-mighty, injury-time goal scramble when the ball hit the woodwork twice. Dead on their feet and stretched to the limit at the back, the Scorpions however held on to complete another famous victory.
The match ended with both teams being reduced to ten men. Gambian substitute Yusupha Njie and Guinea centre-back Ibrahima Conte were both dismissed for picking up second bookings.
On Saturday Gamnbia will play hosts Cameroon, who struggled long and hard against a brave, ten-men Comoros. In the 81st minute, a screamer from Youssouf M’Changama reduced Cameroon’s 2-0 advantage, but the debutants could not find a late equaliser.
The Coelacanths had been on the back foot from the 7th minute when their captain Jimmy Abdou was sent off. They needed a miraculous, defensive masterclass, which was always going to be complicated with left-back Chaker Alhadhur in the starting lineup as a stand-in goalkeeper following a Covid-19 outbreak in the team.
Comoros goalkeeper Ali Ahamada did test negative on the morning of the match, but the rules of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) state that a player who tests positive for the coronavirus must isolate for five days.
Cameroon launched a siege and at the half-hour mark, Karl Tok Ekambi scored with the hosts’ first shot on target. Even with a man and a goal down, Comoros didn’t lose their cool and remained in the match. In a box-to-box second half, Alhadhur proceeded a string of heroic saves, but tournament top scorer Vincent Aboubakar scored what would prove to be the match-winner. In the stands, Fecafoot president Samuel Eto’o celebrated victory, but all the acclaim belonged to Comoros.