The Scorpions were left battered to tatters on 16 June 2012 at Blida, Algeria; as the Desert Foxes completed a double leg win over Gambia.
With a number of the squad’s key players missing and controversy hitting the Gambian camp, coach Mancini, who barely understand a word of English, helplessly watch his side learned a bitter footballing lesson from the star-studded Algerian side.
It was an uphill battle for the Scorpions to overturn a 2-1 goal deficit to Algeria at their home turf of Blida to seal a slot in the African Cup of Nations group stages. The crusade looked mission impossible from the on set well before the 2-1 home defeat to the Desert Foxes in Banjul.
It became worse shortly after the umpire blew the whistle for the commencement of the game. Algeria slammed their opening goal via Valencienne’s Foud Kadir in the 24th seconds of the first minute, which resulted after a dismal poor communication between Futty Danso and goalkeeper Christopher Allen. It gave Mr Kadir an easy tap in to give the home side their first scream.
Five minutes after, in the 6th minute, the Desert Foxes poked in their second through Islam Silimani adding insult to injury as he rifled past the helpless Gambia Ports Authority net-minder, Allen, to be mobbed by his team-mates in celebration.
Just when all hopes seems to have dashed; the Spain–based under-20 captain, Saihou Gassama made a solo run cutting past his marker at the edge of the 18 yard box to unleash a screamer, which flew past the stretched Algerian keeper and hit the back of the net. 2-1 it ended at the halftime.
Gambia came close to leveling the score at the second half, after Mon’s striker-turned midfielder Mustapha Toubabo Jarju, who was deputizing for Pa Dembo Touray as the captain, wastefully thwarted the chance, sending his low ball wide, when there was no red Jersey to pick in the penalty box.
The Scorpions suffered another set back in the second-half after the Algerian player tucked his boot against the Gambian goalkeeper, Allen, forcing him out of the game. He was replaced by the Brikama United’s stopper, Bubacarr Sanyang, who was handed his first debut for the Scorpions.
Algeria kept piling pressure on the visitors and Demba Savage’s squandered free-kick near the box did not help the visitors’ fortunes. Five minutes into the second-half, Islam Silimani completed a brace with his second goal and Algeria’s third; finishing off a cross from the left unmarked.
Soudani wrapped up the score line firing in the final goal as Algeria humiliated Gambia to the full fledge. Momodou Ceesay retired for the fresh legs of Ali Sowe, Demba Savage also came off for the U-17’s winger Saloum Faal.
The score ended 4-1 to the Desert Foxes leaving the scorpions still crawling on the ground.