Gambian midfielder Matarr Ceesay puts on a man of the match performance as the young scorpion’s progressed into the Plate semifinals at the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations after beating Mauritania 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw at full time at the Stade Lat Dior in Thies, Senegal, on Friday.
Gambia who lost their first game against Ghana, showed great improvement and were the more enterprising team in the first half with Matarr Ceesay dictating play in midfield.
Gambia appeared to suffer a set-back in the 19th minute when Samba Jawneh left the field injured and was replaced by Gibril Sillah, but the change seemed to inspire the team rather than dampen the mood.
On the half-hour mark, Abdoulie Sarr came close to scoring a cracker when he unleashed a spectacular 30-yard volley, but his effort went just wide of the Mauritania goal.
Five minutes before the break Sarr was in the thick of the action again when he worked himself into a shooting position on the edge of the box, but he saw his powerful attempt well-saved by the keeper as the half ended all-square.
Mauritania only created their first significant chance of the match on the hour mark when Sidi Ahmed Rachid cut inside from the left flank and fired a 20-yard shot goalward, but the keeper was on hand to make a fantastic acrobatic save.
In the 78th minute, Gambia should really have taken the lead when Momodou Bojang broke down the right and squared for Muhammed Samba who, somehow, from only a few yards out skewed his shot wide when it was easier to score than to miss.
Neither side could find the winner before the full 90 minutes as the match entered a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner.
In the shoot-out, Saidou Barry and Mouhamed El Abd Nouh missed their spot-kicks for Mauritania as Gambia ran out 4-2 winners with all of their penalties converted.
Gambia will now face the winner of the match between Nigeria and Cape Verde in the semifinals of the Plate competition on October 8.