A ding-dong affair marked the opening minutes of the second Group F game between The Gambia and Mali at the Limbe Stadium on Sunday.
Mali however went a notch higher than The Gambia in terms of possession, switching good passes and displaying great composure on the ball as at eight minutes played.
Mali were awarded a free kick a few meters away from the penalty area after Diadie Samassekou was brought down on the 9th minutes but Yves Bissouma smacked his kick wide off the post.
The Gambia continued to soak the incessant pressure from Mali – conceding corner kicks but Mali equally failing bury those set pieces.
Mali came close once again on the 17th minute but Lassana Coulibaly will strike off the post. For the umpteenth time, the Malians tormented the Gambian goal area ones again but a long volley into the area was headed a fraction wide off the post by Adama Traore on the 18th minute.
The Gambia had their best moment when Musa Barrow’s well struck free kick hit the post much to the relief of the Malians.
The Gambia came close with a free kick one more time with Ablie Jallow striking the cross bar again on the 38th minute. Assan Cessay could have capitalized on the rebound but had the ball hit his hand for Mali’s free kick in their own penalty area.
Brighton midfielder, Yves Bissouma should have done better with a scoring opportunity laid for him but his strike went apologetically wide off the cross bar on the 44th minute.
Referee Samir Guezzaz signaled for the end of the first half after three minutes of added time elapsed with no much chances created.
Mali’s second half start was identical to the initial 8 minutes of the first – pushing forward through the flanks and winning corner kicks but failing to make enough those chances.
Mali will incessantly pile pressure on The Gambia with Yves Bissouma shooting a corner kick just a little over the bar for the debutants goal kick on the 55th minute.
The Gambia goalkeeper, Madou Jobe came to the rescue of his side after yet another scoring opportunity from Mali on the 56th minute.
Amadou Haidara came up with a spectacular free kick on the 62nd minute but The Gambian goalkeeper, Modou Jobe pouched it out for Mali’s corner kick.
Mali were added a penalty on the 78th minute after Yves Bissouma was Bissouma on the 76th minute. The decision went to VAR which was given by referee Samir Guezzaz after the consultation.
Striker, Ibrahim Kone stepped up and put goalkeeper, Modou Jobe the wrong way for Mali’s opener. VAR consultations gifted The Gambia a penalty on the 88th minute after Yves Bissouma unknowingly handled their ball in their goal area.
Musa Barrow displaced Ibrahim Mounkoro with just a minute to end the entire game for Gambia’s equalizer.
The Gambia will earn a point against Mali after referee, Samir Guezzaz ended the entire game.