Monrovia - Liberia’s Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) left it late to beat Mali’s Stade Malien 1-0 in a Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Champions’ League preliminary first leg at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on February 12.
Defender Prince Kennedy scored in the 85th minute when striker Mark Paye was brought down in the penalty box in the 82nd minute.
Paye could have scored the opener in the 30th minute from a Van Dave Harmon pass but his effort went an inch from target.
Issiaka Samake came close to scoring in the 50th minute when he was put through on goal but blasted his effort against the cross bar, which was quickly cleared by a BYC defender.
BYC got a free kick in the 64th minute from 20 yards, which was taken by Paye but saved by Diarra, who was yellow-carded in the 79th minute for arguing with center referee Raymond Coker of Sierra Leone.
BYC head coach Cooper Sannah expressed satisfaction for the victory but admitted it was a tough win.
“I am happy because the first thing we have to take into consideration is the competition in which BYC find herself in the CAF championship because game like this is tough, especially playing against semi-professional teams.
“The most important thing we were trying to do was to deny our opponents from scoring and be the first to find at least one or two goals in order to take the three points, which we did. So I am happy for the win,” he said.
Coach Sannah is hoping to pull the trigger with the return leg on February 19 in Bamako.
“The most important that is that we have played our opponents and we know their strength and weakness. We have seen their organization and we will be going back to our drawing board to make sure to come up with a system that we will be to approximately move to the next stage of the competition,” he added.
BYC: 29-Allenton Sembeh, 2-Prince Jetoh, 4-Kemoh Kamara, 7-Sylvanus Morris (27-Ketu Jerbo 72’), 8-Prince Kennedy, 13-Gideon Williams, 14-Junior Barshall (11-Sporo Somah 52’), 15-Mark Paye (24-Francis Jallabah 92’), 20-Van Dave Harmon, captain; 21-Hilton Varney and 22-David Tweh.
Unused substitutes: 12-Mulbah Urey, 9-Randy Dukuly and 19-James Kpoto.
Stade Malien: 1-Djigui Diarra, captain; 2-Idrissa Sogodogo, 5-Marius Hamed Assoko, 8-Moussa Koulibaly, 9-Ntji Samake, 10-Musa Kone, 12-Mohamadou Diallo (18-Sadio Kanoute 80’), 14-Issaka Samake, 15-Mamadou Doumbia, 17-Sekou Gassama (11-Aboubakar Diarra 66’) and 25-Yacouba Songne (6-Mandala Konte 60’).
Unused substitutes: 16-Soumaila Diakite, 4-Oumar Kone, 20-Boubacar Konate Amara Malle.
Match officials: Raymond Coker, center referee; Daniel Kargbo, assistant referee #1; Billy Konneh, assistant referee #2 and fourth official Daudu Williams from Sierra Leone and match commissioner Frederick Eric Crentsil from Ghana.