Monrovia - Mozambique’s Clube Ferroviário da Beira (CFB) beat Liberia’s Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) 2-0 in the first round first leg of the 2017 CAF Champions League at the Estadio do Ferroviario in Beira on March 12.
Manuel Fernandes put the hosts in front on 38 minutes and Dayo Antonio, who scored in the 3-1 win over Zanzibar’s Zimamoto in the preliminary second leg on February 19 in Beira, sealed what looks like a comfortable win in the 79th minute after some poor judgments and poor defending.
BYC were free passengers to a large extent and their tactics of sitting deep to absorb the pressure and picked their opponents on the break backfired big time as there were poor coordination between midfield and defense.
The statistics showed that BYC had just one shot on target as head coach Cooper Sannah continuously screamed at his players from the dugout.
Speaking to reporters before their departure, Sannah was hopeful of collecting a point.
“We are determined to make history for Liberia but know that away games are very difficult; we will do our best,” he said.
But Sannah will surely be thinking about overcoming the result in transits in Harare, Zimbabwe; Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana to Monrovia ahead of the return leg at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on March 19.
BYC, who have 17 points from nine games in the LFA first division league, went into the clash with a mixed form.
They drew 0-0 with 10-man Monrovia Club Breweries (MCB) on March 6 and thrashed Invincible Eleven 6-0 on March 3 at the ATS and Blue Field respectively.
CFB were a bit match-rusty, having lost 1-2 away to Club Desportive de Nacala on March 5 and beaten FC Lichinga 3-1 on March 8 after two games in the Moçambola.
BYC eliminated Mali’s Stade Malien 7-6 on penalties, after a 1-1 aggregate, to reach the first round and will be hoping to qualify for the group stage for the first time this season.
CFB qualified by defeating Zanzibar’s Zimamoto FC 4-3 on aggregate during the preliminaries.
The aggregate winner qualifies for the prestigious group stage with a whooping US$550,000 as qualification fee.
The Liberia Football Association (LFA) will be fasting and praying for BYC as it is guaranteed a five-percent share or US$27,500.
BYC are making their third appearance, having eliminated Stade Malien of Mali 7-6 on penalties, after drawing 1-1 on aggregate at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako on February 19.
Before the two legs, BYC president Sekou Konneh told a news conference on February 8 that they are aiming to become the first Liberian club to qualify for the group state.
What an ambitious target it was considering the pedigree of the Malians but BYC need a miraculous 90 minutes from setting an enviable record.
Can BYC turn water into wine like Barcelona, who lost 4-0 to Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on February 14 and won 6-1 at Camp Nou on March 8 or Algeria’s Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie, who beat MCB 4-0 in Tizi Ouzou on February 19 after a 3-0 defeat at the ATS on February 11?
BYC line up: 29-Allengton Sembeh; 8-Prince Kennedy, 2-Prince Jetoh, 4-Kemoh Kamara, 21-Hilton Varney; 7-Sylvanus Morris, 26-Koffa Dougbeh, 22-David Tweh; 20-Van Dave Harmon, 15-Mark Paye and 10-Prince Saydee.
Substitutes: 16-Morris Tarr, 19-James Kpoto, 5-Solomon Yahweh, 18-Abdullah Yaya Bility, 13-Gideon Williams, 11-Sporo Somah and 9-Randy Dukuly