AFCON 2023: Senegal kick off title defense with a dominant win over Gambia


Defending champions of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Senegal, roared to victory in their tournament opener against The Gambia. The Lions of Teranga showcased their title-defending ambitions with a resounding 3-0 triumph at Yamoussoukro’s Stade Charles Konan Banny.

The reigning champions wasted no time making their mark on the tournament, as Pape Gueye found the back of the net within four minutes. The early breakthrough came courtesy of a precise assist from the talismanic Sadio Mané, who set up Gueye for a clinical first-time finish, putting Senegal in the lead.

Despite being quarter-finalists in the last edition, The Gambia found themselves outclassed by the disciplined Senegalese side. Attempting to regroup and mount a comeback, The Gambia faced an even greater challenge when Ebrima Adams was shown a red card for a reckless tackle on the young Lamine Camara just before halftime. Reduced to ten men, The Gambia struggled against the resolute Senegalese defense.

Returning from the break, Senegal continued their dominance, leaving The Gambia with zero chances of staging a comeback. Lamine Camara, the young sensation, further sealed the victory with a second-half brace. His impressive display included a stunning strike from the edge of the box, finding the top corner and leaving the opposition goalkeeper with no chance.

The emphatic 3-0 win catapulted Senegal to the top of Group C and sent a clear message of intent to their opponents in the tournament. The Lions of Teranga extended their unbeaten streak in the AFCON to eight matches, underlining their status as strong contenders for back-to-back titles.

With their opening victory, Senegal now looks forward to a highly anticipated clash against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Friday, January 19. As they pursue their quest to become only the fourth nation in AFCON history to successfully defend their title, the Lions of Teranga have set a high standard for themselves and laid down the gauntlet for the challenges that lie ahead in the tournament. Meanwhile, The Gambia will be eager to bounce back in their upcoming group-stage match against Guinea on Friday, seeking redemption after a challenging start to their AFCON campaign.

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