Liberia now has two wins from three games in the African Cup of Nations Qualifiers, after winning away at Djibouti 1-0 on Thursday, March 24.
South African-based Anthony Laffor, who landed in Djibouti less than 10 hours before the kickoff, scored in the 65th minute to give Liberia’s Lonestar a much-needed win against struggling Djibouti.
The victory strengthened Liberia’s position at the top of Group A, one of 13 groups in the final round of the qualifying competition. Group winners and two best second-place teams will qualify for the African Cup finals alongside host Gabon.
In a match that was equally contested by both teams, Liberia nearly took an early minute lead through striker Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh, whose goal was ruled offside.
Liberia’s early pressure did not stop Djibouti from attacking and creating chances of its own. However, Djibouti’s efforts posed no threat to Liberia, as the Lonestar demonstrated a strong defense and good goalkeeping from Tommy Songo, who made his fourth cap for Liberia.
Liberia had several other clear-cut chances to score but looked uncertain in front of Djibouti’s goal as the match ended with a 1-0 score.
Playing against Djibouti, which had conceded 31 times from its last eleven matches, many fans were anticipating more goals for the Lonestar, but Head Coach James Debbah praised his team’s performance and said he was pleased with the result and now focusing on the return leg.
“We won, and that’s the most important thing. We came for the three points, and we got it. I don’t think the score matters. What matters most was what we took. We played a good game. The match was a bit tough, but my team kept fighting until the end. It’s not over, we have a return leg, and we must win, that’s our next focus,” Debbah said to UNMIL Radio’s Hillary-Justin Colnoe.
Lonestar is tied in first place with 6pts along with Togo, who has a game in hand.
The match was witnessed by newly elected FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, who is on his first tour since being elected president last month.
Liberia will play Djibouti in the return leg on Tuesday, March 29.
Featured photo courtesy of Augustus Audekina-Doe