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Ali Sowe: Gambian star powers CSKA Sofia past BATE Borisov

23:14 BST 17/09/2020
Ali Sowe
The 26-year-old led Stamen Belchev’s team past the Yellow-Blues in Thursday’s Europa League clash

CSKA Sofia defeated BATE Borisov 2-0 in Thursday’s Europa League game with Ali Sowe finding the net.

The Gambia international, who was also on target in team’s 2-1 triumph over Sirens in the first qualifying round, gave Stamen Belchev’s men the lead inside Bulgarian Army Stadium.

The hosts had more ball possession from the blast of the whistle, but the visitors defended well to halt their attacks.

Pavel Niehajczyk had the opportunity to give BATE Borisov a 32nd-minute lead but his header hit the crossbar. However, he was fouled by goalkeeper Gustavo Busatto in his attempt to score from a rebound – an action that prompted the referee to award a penalty.

The resultant kick was saved by Busatto and it was the third consecutive penalty the Brazilian has saved in his last six games.

A minute prior to the half-time break, it was Sowe who fired past goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski, having reacted quickest to a rebound from Georgi Yomov’s shot on goal.

The Belarusian Premier League side started the second half on a brighter note but they were unable to convert the few chances that came their way.

In the 55th minute, Enrique Rafael drilled in from the left flank and shot at goal, but the Belarusians’ goalie saved.

Senegal’s Younousse Sankhare fired a powerful shot outside the penalty area but it went inches wide from the goal post. In the resultant attack, Maxime Scavis tested Busatto’s reflexes, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.

Substitute Graham Carey sealed the win for CSKA Sofia thanks to his 90th-minute effort as they marched into the competition’s third qualifying round where they will face Faroe Islands' B36 Torshavn on September 24.

While Sowe was in action from start to finish alongside Central African Republic's Amos Youga, Guinea international Jules Keita came on as a 73rd-minute substitute for Georgi Yomov, whereas Sankhare, who was handed a starter's role, came off for Tiago Rodrigues after 68 minutes.

They host Ludogorets on Sunday in a Week Six Bulgarian top-flight outing. As it stands, they are third in the log having garnered 11 points from five games.