The Young Scorpions of Gambia will take on the young Carthage Eagles of Tunisia today 5th March, 2021 at 20:00 hours in the 3rd place play-off as the 2021 AFCON U-20 Championship in Mauritania draws to a close.
The two sides will slug it out against each other at the Cheikha Ould Boïdiya stadium for the bragging rights and the bronze medal as consolation for their efforts in the tournament. It will be a game of stern test for each side as characterized by their journey from the group stages through to this final final between them.
Tunisia were in a group with Burkina Faso, Central African Republic and Namibia. They qualified as one of the two best 3rd placed teams alongside the Black Satellites of Ghana. They lost one, won one and drew the other to advance to the knockout stages with four points after conceding two goals in their final group match against Central African Republic which was the only time their defense was breached in the group stages. They beat Namibia 2 – 0 in their second game and drew 0 – 0 against Burkina Faso in the opening match. They thus ended the group stage scoring three goals and conceding two.
They faced Morocco in the quarter finals, advancing via a 4 – 1 penalty shootout victory to set a date with Uganda in the semis. The Ugandans proved too strong for them and thus ending their trophy ambitions leading to their date with Gambia today.
Gambia on the other hand started their campaign with a 0 – 1 defeat to Morocco before making a slight improvement with a 1 – 1 stalemate against Tanzania who were thrashed in the opening match by Ghana. They then took things into their own hands knowing that a defeat or draw could end their hopes of progressing. They defied all odds to beat tournament favourite, the Black Satellites of Ghana by two goals to one to advance as the group 1st runner-up. That victory ensured they avoided the near-perfect Cameroon in the quarter finals. They sailed past Central African Republic by beating them 3 – 0 to book a date with the Black Satellites again. This time around, the Ghanaians had a master plan for them and defeated them by a lone goal to condemn them to the 3rd place play-off.
This makes the clash an intriguing one as both sides would want to stake a claim to the pride. Tunisia who have failed to match their 1985 feat where they missed the chance to the holy grail with a defeat to Nigeria, would want this as a consolation while Gambia would be anxious to at least match their 2007 feat where they placed 3rd after beating Zambia. The game is on, will it be the Young Scorpions or the Carthage Eagles?