Midfielder Novatus Dismas scored with two minutes left on the clock as Tanzania rallied from a goal down to hold Gambia to a 1-1 draw in their second Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations [AFCON] Group C match in Nouadhibou on Friday.
Gambia looked set to pick a win and rekindle their hopes of progressing to the knockout phases, but Dismas’ freekick from range ensured that Tanzania also kept their belief until the final day of the group stage.
Momodou Bojang’s expertly taken first half volley had put the Young Scorpions ahead of the Ngorongoro Heroes.
Bojang swivelled the Gambians into the lead in the 38th minute, making amends after missing several close opportunities. The lanky forward left the Tanzanian keeper dazed after swinging in a first time volley, connecting Drammeh Kajally’s well weighted cross from the right.
Before that, he had missed several close chances.
In the 25th minute, he completely miscued his shot after being picked out by another of Kajally’s brilliant deliveries while four minutes later, he sent a diving header wide off Habibou Mendy’s freekick after beating the offside trap.
Before that, Gambia had a chance with Mass Njie’s connection off a Mendy freekick going over while Tanzania also had an opportunity via Ben Starkie’s low shot from distance which was saved by the Gambian keeper’s legs.
In the second half, Tanzania came back stronger as they pitched camp in the Gambian half in a bid to get back into contention. Gambia almost nicked one on the counter, but Bojang could not beat the keeper one on one after being put through on goal.
Tanzania continued to pile in the pressure, planting ball after ball behind the Gambian defense as they looked for the single goal that would take them back into the game. Dismas had a go at goal with 15 minutes remaining with a volleyed shot from the edge of the box which went over.
However, his persistence paid off with two minutes of regular time left. A freekick from 25 yards out presented an opportunity for the lanky midfielder and his arrowed shot at goal took an awkward bounce infront of Gambian keeper Lamin Saidy before skipping into the net.
Gambia should have won it just immediately Tanzania scored, but Drammeh’s close range drive came off the post.
The goal breathed relief for the CECAFA representatives and they will now have all to play for when they face off with Morocco in the final match of Group C on Monday. Gambia who lost their opening game 1-0 to Morocco will face off with Ghana in their final match of the group.