South Sudan forward Paul Mara Jawa won and converted a penalty against the Central African Republic (CAR) to secure the Young Bright Stars a 1-0 victory and their first ever win at the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Diminutive winger Paul Mara Jawa was wrestled to the deck under the challenge of Fanuel Franck Koyakogue and he made no mistake when the referee pointed to the spot to give his team the lead.
The debutants started well at the Suez Canal Stadium in Ismailia with hope of making history following their defeat to Congo in the first match of Group B. Peter James and his troops recorded the famous and historic win through star winger Mara who scored his second of the tournament.
South Sudan dominated possession in the opening exchanges of the Group B clash as both teams sought to get their campaigns back on track.
Central African Republic weathered the early South Sudan pressure and came close through Ato-Zandanga’s fierce drive forcing a save from Godwill Sabio Yogusuk after 12 minutes of the bruising contest.
The Central African Republic took control of the match with Ato-Zandanga pushing Les Fauves forward with exchange of passes in the middle of the park.
The youngster forced another smart save from the busy Yogusuk in the South Sudan goal midway through the first half.Les Fauves hit the post just before the half hour mark through Ato-Zandanga.
The midfielder struck a set piece over the Bright Stars wall with the keeper beaten only for it to crash against the post.
Ato-Zandanga was again involved for the Central African Republic ten minutes before the break, cutting inside the area from the left channel and unleashing a curled low effort which Yogusuk turned away for a corner.
The Bright Stars held onto their lead going into the break.
The second half saw a more even match with South Sudan pushing forward with the TotalEnergies Man-of-the-Match Paul Mara Jawa their threat on the left.
Mara found Abishai just outside the CAR box with a neat first touch pass and the striker dragged his effort straight at the keeper.
The CAR continued to cause problems for South Sudan on the other end with Gbenou and Ato-Zandanga coming close but they lacked the cutting edge to beat Yogusuk in goal for South Sudan.
The Bright Stars held on to secure their historic win in the tournament and boosted their chances of qualifying to the quarter-finals.