Gambia edge Benin in 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifiers

The Gambia began its 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualification campaign with a 2-1 first-leg win over Benin at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Sunday.

The Young Scorpions, one of sixteen teams given a bye into the second round of the qualifiers, opened the scoring just a minute after kickoff through talisman Adama Jammeh before Atalanta youth prodigy Ebrima Colley extended the hosts’ lead 33 minutes later through a curling free kick.

But Benin, who had a walkover against Liberia in the first round of qualifiers, fired one back on the stroke of halftime through Ogoulola Ibrahim Andrés who capitalized on a corner that saw the Gambian defence sleeping.

The 2018 WAFU champions now need to win or maintain a goalless score line when the two face off in the return leg in Cotonou this weekend.

The winner of the tie will play against either Algeria or Ghana in the final round of qualifiers for the eight-team tournament scheduled in Niger from 24 February to 10 March 2019.

The Gambia finished as the third-best team eleven years ago when the tournament was hosted and won by Republic of the Congo.