Host nation for the sixth African Junior Championship Gambia came from behind to beat Mali 3-2 in a Group A match Tuesday while favourites Ghana were upset by Burkina Faso 2-1.
In the first game of the day, the Junior Stallions from Burkina Faso went in front after only ten minutes when Ghana's Jerry Akaminko deflected Francois Yameogo's shot past his own goalkeeper. The Burkinabes doubled their advantage almost immediately after Marius Sibdou Kiema headed home.
Two-time winners of the competition the Black Starlets of Ghana pulled a goal back through Opoku Agyeman after skipper Yameogo had committed a hand ball inside the box.
Ghana coach David Duncan said after the game he was still confident of qualification to the semi-finals.
“We were unlucky today even after dominating the second half, but we will surely get a good result in our last group game (against Gambia) so that we can be in the semi-finals,&! #8221; he said.
Gambia and Mali played out a goalless first half before the goals began to flow soon after the break.
Mali took the lead four minutes after the interval through a wonder strike by Mahamane Traore.
However, the Baby Scorpions grabbed three goals in the space often minutes with skipper Ousmane Jallow netting a brace while Mamadou Ceesay scored the other.
In the 64th minute, Cheick Dkiabate shot from an almost impossible angle earned the Junior Eagles of Mali their second goal but it was not enough to get them a result from this encounter as Gambia held on to record a hard-fought victory.
Gambia now lead the standings with six points whileGhana have three points, same as Burkina Faso. Mali are pointless after they also lost their opening match to Ghana.
The final group matches come up Friday with Gambia taking on Ghana and Mali up against Burkina Faso.
Standings GROUP A: P W D L GF GA Pts
Gambia 2 2 0 0 4 2 6
Ghana 2 1 0 1 4 4 3
Burkina Faso 2 1 0 1 2 2 3
Mali 2 0 0 2 4 6 0
Gambia vs Ghana Burkina Faso vs Mali