Defending champions Senegal roar to victory in 2023 AFCON opener beating The Gambia 3-0

Early strike by Pape Gueye

* The Gambia were outclassed by Senegal who dismantled them with the early goal by Gueye following a Sadio Mane assist

* A brace by young sensation Lamine Camara saw the Lions of Teranga roar into a 3-0 victory

Maravi Express

Senegal, the reigning champions of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), opened their title defense campaign with an emphatic 3-0 win over The Gambia at Yamoussoukro’s Stade Charles Konan Banny, thanks to a Pape Gueye early strike that was accompanied by a Lamine Camara second half brace.


The Scorpions, who were quarter-finalists in the last edition were outclassed by the reigning champions who dismantled them with the early goal by Gueye following a Sadio Mane assist. 

The Gambia tried re-grouping and fighting their way back into the match but were met by a resolute and disciplined Senegalese defense and things got worse for the scorpions when Ebrima Adams was sent off for an early shower after a vicious tackle on the young Lamine Camara just before the break. 

Returning from recess, the reigning champions continued their dominance, giving the Scorpions zero chances of a comeback, who were a man down. 

A brace by the young sensation, Camara which included a peach of a strike from the edge of the box that found its way into the top corner saw the Lions of Teranga roar into a 3-0 victory to go top of Group C and send a clear message of intent to their opponents.

Lamine Camara

Up next for the defending champions is a mouth-watering tie against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Friday, January 19.

In a postmatch interview, The Gambia coach, Tom Saintfiet gave credit to a well-organized Senegal, saying: “We are sorry for this result. We wanted our performance to be better than this.

“We tried everything we could to come back with the result. After conceding early, Senegal was more effective and better organised, which was decisive in the match.

“We did not create many chances in the match. The big problem in the first half is that we were unable to find our footing. We lost 3-0 and this is considered a major defeat, and losing a man also made things worse for us,” said the dejected Saintfiet.

Commenting on the team’s chances for the rest of the competition, the coach said: “We will prepare well and we will be ready for the Guinea match. I know that we will be ready.

“Things have become difficult for us now, especially after losing by three. We need 4 points to qualify, so there is still hope.”

Man of the Match, Lamine Camara — Senegal’s young sensation — has credited his senior teammates for his standout in the opening match whose brace and his overall performance earned him the individual accolade — saying it will motivate him to work even harder and it must also be credited to his teammates.


“I am happy with this recognition. This is the result of the hard work that we all did. Winning the first match remains a good thing” said the Metz FC player who recently joined the French club.

The 20-year-old star continued to say: “I am pleased after scoring a brace in the match, and I must remain focused now on the rest of the matches.

“I am pleased to participate in such a tournament with the first team and to be in the company of senior players such as Sadio Mane and others. These players are the ones who helped me stand out today.”—Info from CAFonline