Monrovia: Liberia had two penalties and a calamitous defensive error to beat Sierra Leone 3-1 on the first day of 2022 World Cup qualifying in Africa as the continent’s smaller teams enjoyed a rare moment in the global spotlight,to setup an advantage ahead of the return-leg slated for Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Together with the tiny Red Sea state of Djibouti, Liberia were the only home winners in eight first-round first-leg ties. Based on the record between the two teams, in which Liberia is the better side, the victory did not come as a surprise.
Before the all important derby Asian base striker Kpah Sherman in the match could have scored one of the fastest goals after his left foot effort hit the goal post. Sierra Leone took charge of ball possession, but could not get a curtain raiser.However, Sierra Leone leveled things up in the 56th minute through Kwame Quee’s low effort to beat pass goalkeeper Ashley Williams.
Two tactical substitutions of Turkish base player Tonia Tisdell for South African based winger Terrence Tisdell brough some force in the attack of Liberia and also England base player Mohammed Sangare, replaced Swedish base debutant Seith Hellberg in bring the match to another level to the admiration of the home fans ,as any were happy with his performance from the look of things from the stadium reaction .
But it was substitute, Sangare who increase his country tally to to 2 from a brilliant spot kick in the 83rd minute of the match before Salt Lake -MLS player and captain of the moment Sam Johnson finally added his name to the scoresheet to bring Liberia goal harvest on the day to 3-1 for the Red, White and Blue boys in the 88th minute from a blunder to in communication between the Sierra Leone defender and his goalie .
Liberia, cheered on by the country’s president and former world footballer of the year George Weah, were ahead in the 18th minute after Terrence Tisdell converted a spot-kick but Sierra Leone, playing a first international since the lifting of a year-long FIFA ban, equalised through Iceland-based Kwame Quee.
But another penalty eight minutes from time and a third goal from captain Sam Johnson, as he took advantage of mix-up in the visiting defence, gave Liberia’s new English coach Peter Butler a winning start.
In other news Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Namibia won away while Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho and Tanzania forced away draws to give themselves a good chance of advancing.
Story by Peterking Quaye |Football Writer (c) Liberia sports online