MONROVIA, Montserrado – The 2018 Liberia Football Association First Division League has come to an end with Barrack Young Controllers being crowned as champions.
Barrack Young Controllers won the league on Wednesday, October 17 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium after beating the LPRC Oilers 4-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in regular and extra time.
With the two teams finishing on top of Group A and B with 17 points each, the championship final was expected to come with fireworks when the two sides clashed.
Free-scoring Barrack Young Controllers got the match off to a flying start when they took the lead just three minutes after kickoff. William Freeman scored in the third minute to put the Go Blue Boys ahead.
Barrack Young Controllers’ lead lasted for 21 minutes and the LPRC Oilers got the score leveled. Defensive player Ebenezer Solo scored from the penalty spot to level the score and LPRC were again confident of finishing as champions of the First Division League.
Previously down a goal, the Oil Boys went ahead to make things difficult for Barrack Young Controllers. Five minutes to the end of the first half, Augustine Otu put LPRC ahead with an easy finish into an empty net after beating goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh.
Three goals between the two teams in 40 minutes made the match more exciting and fans expected more fireworks with the two teams displaying quality football in front of the many fans that showed up. The Go Blues Boys were unable to even the score and they went to the break, down 2-1.
But BYC returned stronger after the first half, with substitute Mustapha Lomell hitting a close-range shot in the 59th minute. It proved too powerful to be stopped by Saylee Swen. The veteran goalkeeper had no chance of rescuing LPRC Oilers as he watched the ball reach the back of the net.
With the score being leveled, the two teams were in search of goals to finish the full 90 minutes as champions. However, none was able to score again as the match went to extra time of play. Still, the two teams failed to score again as the match moved to the penalty spot where the champions were decided.
The penalty kicks were off to a heartbreaking start for Barrack Young Controllers fans, who saw their captain Teah Dennis’ shot saved by Saylee Swen. However, they got back on track when the LPRC Oilers threw their first shot over the bar. Alpha Jalloh, whose mistake gave LPRC the lead in the 40th minute, turned to be the hero with a save from the spot to give Barrack Young Controllers their fourth league title.
After the match, the Go Blue Boys celebrated with a giant size trophy, medals, and a large check of L$750,000 (US$4,777). Meanwhile, the LPRC Oilers walked away with a check of L$450,000 (US$2,866).
Barrack Young Controllers will search for a second title when they play against LISCR FC in the final of the FA Cup on Friday, October 19 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium. BYC will also represent Liberia in the 2018-19 CAF Champions league while FA Cup finalist LISCR FC automatically qualified for the 2018-19 CAF Confederation Cup, as BYC is ineligible to play in the CAF Champions League and the Confederations Cup at the same time.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley Jr.