MONROVIA, Montserrado – After a two-week break, phase two of the 2016-17 Liberia First Division League kicked off on Thursday, April 13, with title hopefuls Monrovia Club Breweries bowing to Jubilee Football Club in a shocking defeat.
The New Kru Town-based club suffered a major blow in their hunt for the First Division title following a 2-0 defeat to the Church Boys. Two goals from forward Zackie Bannie were enough to condemn Club Breweries to defeat on match day one of the second phase.
Breweries played without starter goalkeeper Abdulia Koulibali and center defender Raymond Fanciah; ending the first phase of the league at the third position in a 12-team table, seven points behind league leaders, FC Fassell.
Breweries were hoping to pick up a win against Jubilee to move to second place on the table but their poor performance on the pitch stuck them in third position. From the start of the encounter, Jubilee proved to be the better side by dominating the possession and creating some early chances.
It took them 30 minutes to break the deadlock when Zackie Bannie gave Jubilee Football Club a well-deserved lead. The right winger scored with a long range shot that beat goalkeeper Daniel Swenwetee to go into the upper right corner of the net.
The score was doubled six minutes later when Swenwetee made a slight error in goal giving Bennie his second goal. He struck a cross ball from the left side which headed directly to the diminutive shot stopper. The keeper allowed the ball to slip off his gloves right on the goal line.
Jubilee had taken a hard fought two-goal lead and it was Club Breweries that was down during the first period of the match. Their chance of pulling one back came in the 40th minute with a cross ball that landed in Jubilee’s penalty area, but James Konowah failed to seize the opportunity before the ball was cleared by the defenders.
Breweries did not stop their hunt for a goal as they continued to push for a consolation before the end of the first half. Their best chance came from the set piece with three minutes to end the first half. Left full back Adama Swaray nearly pulled one back with a brilliant free-kick that was deflected over the crossbar for a corner.
A rough tackling Jubilee defense prevented the Beer Boys from getting a goal, and went to the break with the 2-0 lead. Breweries returned from the break with the introduction of skillful forward George Weah and midfield giant Samuel Boe in their hunt to get the score levelled.
However, it was Jubilee that began as the better side again by creating some chances that could have resulted in a goal. Their best and closest chance came in the 53rd minute through former Club Breweries midfielder Theo Nimely who missed an open chance to make the score 3-0.
The dual goals hero, Bannie, burst into the Breweries’ defense and played out to Nimely who had only the goalkeeper to beat from a close range. Nimely shot the ball wide off target and the score remained 2-0 against Club Breweries.
With no goal scored in the second half, Jubilee claimed all the three points after the match as they remained in fifth place on the league table, but with 18 points from 12 matches.
Meanwhile, the league continues on Friday, April 14 when the only undefeated LISCR FC play against the lowly ELWA United in game one, and league leaders, FC Fassell go against seventh placed Watanga FC in game two at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley, Jr.