BRIKAMA UTD SCARE ESPERANCE
Monday, March 26, 2012
Gambian champions Brikama United continued their remarkable success story in their debut season in the CAF Champions League with an encouraging performance against defending Champions Esperance Sportive de Tunis on Saturday.
The West Coast Region outfit came from a goal down to secure an impressive 1-1 home draw with the two-time African champions in the first leg of the second round qualifiers of the 2012 edition.
The gulf in years between the two teams is so much that
Esperance Sportive de Tunis were in existence for 84 years before Brikama
United was formed in 2003 and have won the Tunisian premier league title a
record 24 times.
Esperence travelled to Banjul with a chartered flight on Thursday and have an annual budget of over US$5 million dollars, but one could hardly notice any difference between the two sides on the pitch during the 90 minutes.
Esperance, a team coached by the Swiss,Michel Decastel, are one of the most decorated clubs in Tunisian football, having amassed no fewer than 14 league titles, seven Tunisian Cups and two Tunisian Super Cups in the past 20 years alone.
On paper, it was thought to be an easy ride for EST and when they took a 4th minute lead through Captain Wajdi Bouazzi, the worst was feared. But Brikama United, cheered on by a passionate home crowd at the Box Bar mini-stadium, snatched a 12th minute equaliser courtesy of Musa Bojang after a scramble in the opponents area from a free-kick.
After the equaliser, Sulayman Kuyateh’s side gained confidencce and began to possess the ball even better than their more illustrious opponents.
The visitors were also threatening occasionally, especially on the break, but their efforts were thwarted by the Brikama United defence marshalled by Adama Sabally and Sheikh Omar Sawo.
Ben Armor headed over from a corner and Mohammed Slama’s effort was tipped over by Bubacarr Sanyang before the former Gambia U-17 keeper tipped another Mohammed Nazakni cracking effort over.
Brikama’s best chance to go ahead came in the 20th minute when they were denied by a last minute intervention from the Esperance keeper Ben Cherifia and just past the half hour mark, the Sateba Boys striker Foday Trawally shot over the bar from close range when he could have done better.
Just three minutes into the second half, Ebou Kanteh saw the Esperance keeper off his line and tried a clever lob but Ben Cherifia was quick to step back to avert the danger before Abdoulie Bojang also cleared an Esperance goal bound effort off the line at the other end.
Striker Foday Trawally missed a golden opportunity to win the game for his side when he shot straight at the feet of keeper Ben Cherifia in the 72nd minute after he was put through by Nabi Darboe. The Brikama substitute forced his way into the right side of the Esperance defence and sent a low cross into the box which was completely missed by Esperence’s Malian international defender Idrissa Coulibaly. But Trawally missed from just three meters out.
The game eventually ended goalless and despite their inexperience, Brikama United have won the respect of the entire nation and the North Africans and probably the continent with their performance.
The return leg in Tunis is in two weeks time and a win or a score draw of more than one will see Brikama United qualify to the third and final round of qualifiers at the expense of the African champions.EndFragment
Author: Baboucarr Camara