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Senegal’s Young Teranga Lions Champions of U20 AFCON
*Nigeria’s Flying Eagles add Fair Play award to Bronze
Senegal’s Young Teranga Lions of Senegal beat their neighbours Gambia 2-0 yesterday to win their first ever TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Senegalese who are champions of Africa at both senior and CHAN levels are now the undisputed leaders of the round leather game in the continent.
They will be leading Africa’s quartet that include The Gambia, Nigeria and Tunisia to the FIFA U20 World Cup in Indonesia in summer.
Goals from forward Sulaymane Faye and midfielder Mamadou Camara in the Egyptian capital of Cairo were enough to secure Senegal victory over their arch-rivals.
The West African side qualified to Saturday’s final with a hundred percent record winning all their matches without conceding a goal.
The Young Teranga Lions were playing their fourth TotalEnergies U-20 AFCON final having finished runners-up in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Malick Daf’s side have followed in the footsteps of the senior Teranga Lions, the Beach Soccer national team and the home-based national team in winning continental glory over the last year.
The Young Teranga Lions started better at the Cairo International Stadium with their direct approach causing the Young Scorpions problems at the back.
The Young Teranga Lions broke the deadlock after six minutes through Sulaymane Faye’s header from a cross down the right channel.
The Gambian defence failed to deal with Pape Diallo’s cross which allowed Faye to head into an unguarded goal.
The Young Lions weathered the early setback to keep possession with Alieu Gibba and Mahmud Bajo
Lamine Camara fired a shot from distance which Pa Ebou Dampha parried towards the inrushing Sulaymane Faye who failed to score on 28 minutes.
Pa Ebou Dampha made himself big in front of the CF Talavera forward who couldn’t add to his tally.
The Young Scorpions came from the break seeking to get back into the match but were too strong in defense for the Young Scorpions.
Senegal doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart through RS Berkane midfielder Mamadou Camara. The towering Mamadou Camara guided home a corner to beat the helpless Pa Ebou Dampha.
The Young Teranga Lions dominated possession in the opening exchanges of the second period with Lamine Camara and Mamadou Camara pulling the strings for Malick Daf’s side.
The Gambia coach Abdoulie Bojang made a double substitution bringing in Mansour Mbye and Muhamed Sawaneh for Bailo Bah and Modou Marong.
The change added more firepower to the ineffective Young Scorpions attack. Mbye played in Kajally Drammeh on the left side of the Gambian to free Cape Town winger whose delivery into the area was cleared for a corner.
Senegal captain Samba Diallo twice came close to extending their lead against their neighbours. The Dinamo Kiev youngster saw his half volley agonizingly miss the target before blocking Alagie Saine’s clearance towards the Gambian goal.
Substitute Mouhamed Gueye hit the Young Scorpions post with a ferocious effort in stoppage time. The US Goree midfielder was played in just outside the Gambian box to strike against the woodwork.
The WAFU-A champions held on to secure their first ever TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Earlier on Friday, Nigeria’s the Flying Eagles finished third after thrashing Tunisia 4-0 in the third place match.
In the individual awards Senegal dominated as Pape Diop emerged top scorer with five goals, Lamine Camara emerged Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Landing Badji won the best goalkeeper award and the Flying Eagles got the Fair Play award.