MONROVIA, Montserrado – The 2016-17 Liberia First Division League continued over the weekend with two exciting matches between the league’s top four clubs across two different venues.
The league’s defending champion, Barrack Young Controllers, missed out on the chance of moving to second place on the table on Friday, May 12, when they were held to a goalless draw at home against New Kru, Town-based Monrovia Club Breweries, which is seated fourth on the table.
Playing on home soil, BYC was hopeful of getting all three points against Club Breweries but saw their opportunities wasted after several missed chances.
On Sunday, May 14, second-placed LISCR FC missed out the chance of cutting FC Fassell’s lead from five to two points after playing to a 1-1 draw at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium. With LISCR winning the first leg 1-0, Fassell was desperate for revenge as they began the match hoping to get an early goal.
Despite their early pressure, LISCR kept the Soccer Missionaries away from their box with their coordinating ball passes but LISCR itself failed to get a goal. They thought they had taken the lead in the 40th minute when Christopher Jackson’s goal was ruled offside. Trokon Myers struck from outside Fassell’s penalty area but was denied by goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh, who punched the ball in front of Jackson that was within the box. Jackson made no mistake as he got the ball at the back of the net before his celebration got halted after the linesman waved it for an offside.
Both teams failed to get a goal in the first 45 minutes as they went to the break with a goalless draw. LISCR FC, noted for their perfect ball passing around the pitch, returned to much pressure on the Soccer Missionaries in their hunt for a goal.
As the clock continued to wind down and there was no goal being scored, both teams looked to be playing for a goalless draw until LISCR broke the deadlock in the 64th minute with a well-deserved lead. It was another glorious moment for substitute Prince Urey, who set up the Christopher Jackson goal that beat Fassell in the first phase of the league. Urey repeated the same after replacing Trokon Myers in the 56th minute.
The substitute striker made his way between two of Fassell’s defenders and connected Fallah Sheriff, who was in the right position to get the back of the net. Sheriff collected the pass from Urey and dribbled goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh out of his goal before placing the ball into an empty net.
With a goal up front, LISCR appeared set to win the game until the heartbreaking moment in the stoppage time when Fassell got the score leveled. The league leaders failed to get the equalizer in the 90 minutes of play despite having much of the possession in the final minutes of the match. Their golden chance came in the fourth minute of stoppage time through Nuwo Johnson. Nuwo finished a set piece from 18 yards to give LISCR a share of the points.
The draw means LISCR is unbeaten in their 15 league games played as they moved second on the league table with 27 points from 15 games, while Fassell remains on top of the log with 32 points from 14 games.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley, Jr.