THE Young Teranga Lions of Senegal on Saturday at the Cairo International Stadium, Egypt, defeated their Gambia counterparts 2-0 to lift their first-ever Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy.
Goals from forward Sulaymane Faye and midfielder Mamadou Camara were all the team needed to secure Senegal victory over their Gambian neighbours.
The Senegalese side zoomed into Saturday’s final with a 100 per cent record, winning all their matches without conceding a goal.
The Young Teranga Lions were playing their fourth Under-20 AFCON final, having finished runners-up in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Malick Daf’s tutored 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 Scorpions came from the break seeking to get back into the match but were unable to break the defence of the Senegalese.
Senegal doubled their lead 10 minutes after the restart through midfielder Mamadou Camara who 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 and the change added more firepower to the ineffective Young Scorpions attack.
Senegal captain Samba Diallo twice came close to extending their lead and substitute Mouhamed Gueye even hit the Young Scorpions’ post with a ferocious effort in stoppage time.
The Senegalese held unto their goals which eventually saw them through to their first ever title at this category.
It would be recalled that the Flying Eagles thrashed The Young Carthage of Tunisia 4-0 to win the third place match.
The four semi-finalists are to represent Africa at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup scheduled to hold in Indonesia between May 20 and June 11. (NAN)