Gambia into WAFU Plate semis on pens shootout

Gambia progressed into the Plate semifinals at the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations after beating Mauritania 4-2 in a penalty shootout after their match ended goalless at the Stade Lat Dior in Thies, Senegal, on Friday.

The opening exchanges of the first half saw neither side very enterprising in attack with chances on goal few and far between.

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 all-square.

Eight minutes into the second stanza Gambia should really have taken the lead when some swift passing saw Baboucarr Camara in space ten yards out from goal, but he struck the right-hand post with his effort.

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 goalwards, 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 Muhaammed 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 everyone 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.