Hamza Stars As Scorpions Top Group D
By Foday Jatta.
Hamza Barry starred as The Gambia come from behind twice to draw DR Congo 2 – 2 in CAF qualifier at the Independent Stadium, Bakau.
Former Villareal striker Cedric Bakambu open the scoring for Congo at the stroke of half time. Scorpions’ skipper Pamodou Jagne ambitiously got forward to nod home Hamza Barry’s cross in the 52nd minute. Jackson Muleka restored the lead for the visitors in the 74th minute, before hardworking substitute Babucarr Jobe draw level with a powerful low drive for the Gambia, at the death of the game.
Hajduk Split midfielder Hamza Barry who assisted for his midfield partner Sulayman Marreh in the Gambia’s emphatic 3 – 1 mauling of Angola, produces another fine display to help Scorpions stay top of Group D. He again assisted Pamodou Jagne for the home side’s first equaliser.
Barry was given the the free role in midfield as he had the composed holding midfielder Sulayman Marreh and midfield battler Ebrima Sohna, playing just behind him. The Scorpions’ number 2 stood tall against the star studded Congo side to become the driving force of the hosts’ attack. It was his defense splitting pass to Modou Barrow early on, that gave the home fans their first plaudit.
The Gambia fall behind at the 45th minute of the opening half when the visitors center back Christian Luyindana header from a corner was flicked home by Cedric Bakambu. Former Swansea star picked Hamza who made the clever forward run into the Congo box, Barry skillfully drag the ball with his right to the left and delightfully clip in the ball for Skipper Pamodou Jagne to head home from close range.
DR Congo restore their lead on 74 minutes. English Premier League and Westham United fullback, Arthur Masuaku raced with the ball into the Scorpions’ half then play a square pass to the unmarked midfielder Jackson Muleka from around 20 yards out, whose shot deflected on its way into the right bottom corner of Modou Jobe’s post.
The tiny West African country hit back the Leopards with a 92nd minute equaliser. Second half substitutes Ebrima Colley and Babucarr Jobe combined well on the right, and it was striker Babucarr Jobe who popped up with the decisive leveler. Jobe was found just inside the visitors’ 18 yard box, his powerful low drive into the right bottom corner propel The Gambia back to the top of Group D.
Hamza Barry was without a doubt the most influential of the home side’s attack, picking the ball from all areas of the pitch with his clever turns, twisting an turn his markers, drove forward with confidence, ease and command.
The Scorpions could’ve won the game as they had better goal scoring chances. Seria A stars of Sampdoria and Atalanta, Omar Colley and Musa Barrow respectively went close and Al-Shabab striker Babucarr Steve Trawally also saw his close range effort palmed away by Congo’s netminder, Joel Kiassunbua.
The return of the four long absentees, in Babucarr Steve Trawally, Modou Barrow, Hamza Barry and Sulayman Marreh have given coach Tom Saintfiet and The Gambia much needed quality in the squad and hope of qualifying to its first continental showpiece. All the four players have impacted in the Gambia’s dream start to the Cameroon 2021 qualifier, helping the Scorpions to sit on top of the group with 4 points, ahead of Gabon also with 4 points with a goal difference, DR Congo in 3rd with 2 points and Angola with zero points, after two games of the qualifier.