There may have been a few technical content, but there was dull moment and so nothing to get bored about during the more than 95 minute of play between the Young Scorpions and the Central American state of Honduras in the opening matches of Group F in Mendoza, western Argentina, on Monday.
It started immediately with a sensational gaffe that gave the lead to Gambia after less than minute thanks to the fleet footed Adama Bojang. But almost immediately, Honduras netted an equalizer with a header from close range by Aceituno. From then on, the Hondurans packed another three clear chances against the two of their opponents, all wasted by an approximate aim. Gambia played the game led by a lively Salifu Colley on the right, but the best scoring was created by the opponents with Castillo, Kolton and Pena. The Gambia struggled to materialise the large amount of play and had to thank Sanyang’s reflexes several times up to the decisive leap of the usual Adama Bojang, who in the 84th minute brought his team forward by taking advantage of a scrum in the Honduran area. That’s not all, because Carter signs the new equalizer in the 89th minute before the about-face imposed by the Var room, due to an offside. Alvarado’s team tries until the 95th minute with a header from Suazo, but Gambia celebrated deservingly.
In the same group South Korea recorded and upsetting win over France. Captain Lee Seung-won registered a goal and an assist to lift Korea past France 2-1.
“Because France came in as a title favorite, we tried to tighten up our defense and look for counterattack opportunities,” Coach Kim said in a post-match interview. “The players executed those plans really well.”
There are six groups of four in this tournament. The top two teams from each group will be joined by the four best third-place teams in the round of 16. Korea, runners-up at the 2019 tournament, are going for their third straight knockout trip at this biennial event. The 2021 competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Korea’s next match is against Honduras on Thursday, followed by Gambia on Sunday, both back in Mendoza.
“The matches against Honduras and Gambia won’t be easy,” Kim said. “Now that the first match is in the books, we’ll prepare hard for the next one and try to play a good match.”
Meanwhile The Gambia will face France tomorrow with a strong determination to beat this much fancied side in the tournament.
Meanwhile defender Moses Jarju sustained an injury that saw him stretchered off the pitch to hospital. After a thorough check and scan at the hospital, it is confirmed that he has a minor hamstring muscle tear. According to the team doctor he is recovering on analgesics and physiotherapy. He said Moses could return to action soon upon good treatment and recovery.
Gambia vs France kickoff is 18hrs