Afcon 2023: Lamine Camara hits brace as Senegal get title defence off to winning start

Cameroon held to 1-1 draw by 10-man Guinea in their tournament opener

Senegal's midfielder Lamine Camara celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's third goal against Gambia. AFP
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Lamine Camara’s double helped Senegal get their Africa Cup of Nations title defence off to a winning start as they recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory over 10-man Gambia on Monday.

Pape Gueye put the 2021 champions ahead just four minutes in, while Gambia were reduced to 10 men when Cardiff midfielder Ebou Adams was sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Camara doubled their lead – seven minutes after the break – and wrapped up victory in style with a stunning curling strike in the closing stages.

Senegal took the lead in the fourth minute when Camara’s cross was cleared as far as Sadio Mane and the former Liverpool forward laid the ball off to Gueye on the edge of the box, who smashed it first time into the bottom corner.

Musa Barrow fired a free-kick from a tight angle into the side-netting for Gambia and compatriot Ali Sowe had a great chance from a corner, but the cross was slightly too high as his header flashed wide.

Gambia were handed a blow when – just before the break – Adams was shown a red card, eight minutes into first-half stoppage-time.

The Teranga Lions took advantage of their extra player seven minutes into the second-half when Ismaila Sarr played Camara through and he tucked the ball into the bottom corner to extend their lead.

They were nearly gifted a third when Yankuba Minteh found Habib Diallo in the six-yard box, but goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye managed to smother the attempt.

Gambia had two half-chances from Omar Colley, but Senegal remained in control with Gaye being called into action again to deny Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson from close range.

Camara capped off the afternoon as he completed his brace in the 86th minute when Iliman Ndiaye weaved past the Gambia defence to find the Metz midfielder, who curled the ball first time into the top right-hand corner from 25 yards out to seal victory.

In the late game, five-time champions Cameroon were held to a draw by 10-man Guinea.

Guinea, ranked 80th in the world by Fifa, took the lead when Mohamed Bayo fired a 10th minute opener.

However, they had to play the second half with 10 men when skipper Francois Kamano stamped on Frank Magri's foot.

Magri nodded in Georges-Kevin Nkoudou's cross to equalise for Cameroon but Guinea hung on for a well-earned point.

Updated: January 15, 2024, 7:54 PM