Monrovia - Maryland County whipped Nimba County 2-0 in the last semi-finals of the 2016/2017 National County Sports Meet at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on January 11.
Their goalkeeper, Larry D. Hne, was the man of the match based on the several impressive saves he made in both halves.
The first yellow card in the match was in the ninth minute against Rufus Padmore of Nimba for a foul he played against one of his opponents.
Maryland County, headed by coach Emmanuel Baffoe, truly deserved her victory even though she was not good on the ball especially in the area of possession as compare to Nimba County but they carried on several goal attempts and two came to reality.
The first goal came in the extra two minutes of the first half through striker Daniel Toe’s perfect placement from a superb cross received from a teammate.
Nimba County could have taken the lead in the 24th minute through striker Sebu Yanglee’s powerful shot from 25 yards but was denied by Hne after he sent the ball over the cross bar for a cornerkick.
With a perfect ball control and several powerful shots on target, Nimba County also came close to scoring in the 34th minute through Mark Yallah’s shot but the ball travelled over the cross bar.
Daniel Tuazoma of Nimba was yellow-carded in the 39th minute for an intentional handball and in the 41st minute Yallah of Nimba County again made a powerful move in the defense of Maryland but his shot was saved by Hne.
Nimba opened the last half of the match with perfect ball control but Maryland also maintained a tactical defensive technique until in the 61st minute when Irvin Gbotoe kicked a powerful shot and was denied by Hne, who tipped the ball over the cross bar for a cornerkick.
Maryland County lost total possession to Nimba but their defense maintained a perfect denial up to the 64th minute when Toe shot travelled near the goal post.
Gbotoe could have scored the equalizer for Nimba in the 73rd minute from a tactical pass received from a teammate but the defense of Maryland County denied him from reaching the ball.
Substitute Musa Jabateh made a forceful moved in the defense of Maryland in the 79th minute and his shot travelled off target.
Things got worse for Nimba in the 83rd minute when substitute Aflah Allison scored the second goal from a perfect cross pass received from the left corner.
“I am pleased with my players’ performances against our opponents since the start of the tournament up to our victory today against one of the tournament’s competitors"
"I am urging my players to do all they can in our grand finale battle against Montserrado,” said Baffoe.
Head coach Muta Fofana admitted that Nimba’s defeat was caused by their inability to score.
“Our defeat today was cause by our players failure to properly put into use at least one of the scoring opportunities they got in both halves of the game but that I think the game was not just for us,” Coach Fofana said.
In kickball, Margibi County beat Grand Bassa County by three to two home runs in the semi-finals and will meet defending champions Nimba in Sunday’s grand finale while Maryland County and Montserrado County will meet in football at the ATS.