Afcon 2023: The Gambia survive Chad scare to progress to group stage of qualifying

The Gambia side to face Cameroon
The Gambia were one of the surprise packages at the 2021 Nations Cup held in Cameroon earlier this year

The Gambia survived a scare in the second leg of their preliminary tie against Chad to reach the group stage of qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Scorpions, who as debutants had reached the quarter-finals of the Nations Cup in Cameroon earlier this year, needed an injury-time penalty on Tuesday to progress 3-2 on aggregate.

The West Africans had won the away leg 1-0, but were forced to host Chad in Morocco after being stripped of home advantage because the Independence Stadium in Bakau does not meet standards to host international matches.

A header from Ahmat Abderamane gave Chad the lead in the first half before Assan Ceesay swiftly equalised for The Gambia.

Chad regained the lead soon after half-time through Ezechiel N'Douassel, and the 2-1 score line looked set to eliminate The Gambia on the away goals rule.

However, Scorpions forward Ceesay netted from the spot to ensure Tom Saintfiet's side, who climbed to 125th in the Fifa world rankings after their run in Cameroon, still have a chance to reach next year's tournament in Ivory Coast.

The date of the draw for the group stage of qualifying is yet to be announced by the Confederation of African Football.

Sao Tome e Principe, Lesotho, Eswatini and South Sudan also came through preliminary ties, while Botswana were given a bye after Eritrea withdrew.

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