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Gabon stages dramatic comeback against Gambia in World Cup qualifiers

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Gabon staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Gambia 3-2 on the fourth day of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. The victory brings Gabon within a single point of Group F leaders, Ivory Coast, who narrowly beat Gabon 1-0 last Friday.

Early Struggles and a Power Outage

The match began with Gabon dominating possession but struggling to break through Gambia’s defensive lines.

Gambia capitalized on this, launching swift counterattacks that culminated in Yankuba Minteh’s goal in the 32nd minute, putting the visitors ahead.

Despite their efforts, Gabon couldn’t equalize before halftime, with Denis Bouanga missing a crucial header from a favorable position.

The second half took an unexpected turn when a power outage plunged Franceville into darkness, halting the match for approximately 30 minutes.

This interruption seemed to rejuvenate the home side.

Gabon’s Remarkable Turnaround

Upon resumption, Gabon emerged revitalized. The spark came from Allevinah, who, having recovered from a discomfort in the previous match against Ivory Coast, ignited the crowd with a dazzling display.

He maneuvered skillfully through Gambia’s defense, finishing with a stunning strike into the top corner in the 52nd minute to level the score.

Aubameyang and Bouanga Seal the Win

Buoyed by the equalizer, Gabon continued to press forward with confidence.

The breakthrough came in the 70th minute when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, returning to the national squad, marked his comeback with a crucial goal to put Gabon ahead.

Just four minutes later, Denis Bouanga made amends for his earlier miss by heading in a cross from Allevinah, extending the lead to 3-1.

Late Drama and a Vital Victory

Gambia refused to go quietly, narrowing the gap in the 79th minute through Edou Adams.

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The tension mounted as Gambia pushed for an equalizer, but Gabon held firm.

Aubameyang’s commitment was evident as he made a vital defensive play to preserve the lead.

Despite missing opportunities to extend their lead further, Gabon’s determination saw them through to the final whistle, securing a crucial victory.

The result places Gabon just one point behind Ivory Coast, who are feeling the pressure after a 1-1 draw with Kenya earlier in the day.

This stunning comeback not only revives Gabon’s qualification hopes but also sets the stage for an exciting conclusion to Group F’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

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