Monrovia – Liberia’s champion, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Oilers, marked their return to Confederation of Africa Football Champions League with a narrow 1-0 victory over Senegalese champion, Generation Foot, Sunday, August 11, at the Antoinette (ATS) Tubman Stadium.
Striker Terry Sackor scored in the 55th minute when the striker received a through pass within the 18-yard box.
Oilers started the match on a slow pace allowing the visitors to control the match with their perfect display in midfield.
The Senegalese had a goal disallowed in 2nd minute of the match when captain Diop Djibril headed the ball in the net but the central referee, Kouassi Attisso Attiogbe, of Togo sounded his whistle for an offside.
Alvin Marcconel, partnered in defense with Prince Jetoh, kept LPRC in the game with some decent defending after immense pressure from Generation Foot with five corner kicks in the first half.
Oilers’ first attempt on target came in the 10th minutes with a powerful Sackor shot from 30 yards out that was saved by goalkeeper Niare Mohamed.
The third highest goal scorer in the just end LFA league, Terry Sackor could have scored the opener in the 30th minute from an Augustine Out pass but his overhead kick went over the bar.
Insa Pape Badji came close to scoring for the visitors in the 40th minute when he was put through on goal but blasted his effort far from goal ending the first half goalless.,
Chief Patron of Sports George Weah in the VIP stand looked frustrated in the Liberian Champions’ lack of confident as he was constantly seen give out instructions to LFA President Mustapha Raji to be transferred to the technical staff.
After the break, ‘Sensational LPRC’ took control of the game with two corner kicks in seven minutes but could not break the deadlock.
The moment the home side’s fans were waiting came in the 50th minute as Sackor stuck from close range to beat Generation Foot’s goalie Niare.
Down by a goal, Coach Djiby Fall changed his formation from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 in order to get the equalizer but the experience defense of Oilers stood their grounds.
Insa Pape Badji could have leveled the score but Jetoh intercept the ball as Prince Wlame came out and collected the ball.
LPRC got a free kick in the 64th minute from 20 yards, which was taken by Aloysius Simujla but was beautifully saved
Varney Sando and Sackor missed two clear opportunities with Sando missing from close range after a one-two-one but his final touch was saved for corner kick, while Sackor missed kick an open play after Dominic Jarteh had sent him through.
Oilers’ head coach Cooper Sannah expressed satisfaction for the victory but admitted it was a tough win.
“I am not afraid because I have had the experienced with BYC. I am not afraid; history will judge me from the last two years with BYC against Star de Maiden. We won here 1-0 and in Bamako we also qualified there. Trust me; come the 24th of August, it will be a different game and different approach.”
“The way we played here today will be different from the way we will play in Dakar. The strategy we used here and the approached will be different from there one in Dakar,’ Sannah told reporters at the post-match press conference.
He noted that his star midfielder Ebenezer Solo could not play due to injury but said he will be fit for the second leg a game he predict to be very difficult.
“We are cognizant of their pressure and strength; so we are making sure with our plan B to get there. We will qualify,” he said confidently
“The most important thing is that we have played our opponents and we know their strength and weaknesses. 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 use to help move to the next stage of the competition,” he added.
Coach Sannah is hoping to pull the trigger with the return leg on August 24, 2019 in Dakar.
Generation Foot’s Coach Djiby Fall blamed poor officiating of the game for his side’s defeat but said he is optimistic of reaching the next round of the competition
“We blamed the defeat on the match officiating. We are not satisfied with the officials. We had penalty that was disallowed but I am optimistic that we will win the return leg.”
“If the referee did it on purpose I cannot say but mistakes can happen in football and it is part of the game.”
“We are going back and already know how our opponents play; we are going to prepare technically and I am optimistic of qualification,” Fall said.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s CAF Cup’s representative, LISCR FC, lost away to Togolese side Maranatha FC 3-0.
The first half ended 1-0 to the home side as LISCR’s Benjamin Doe missed a penalty in the closing stages of the first half to level things for the ‘Shipping’ Boys.
The Liberian FA Cup winner conceded two additional goals in the second half to end the game 3-0.
LISCR need to win 4-0 at home to make it to the next round.
LPRC Oilers start list
1-Prince Wlame (goalie)
5-Alvin Maccornel (captain)
25-Varney B. Sando
13-Jegbay M. Konneh
30-Morris Tarr (goalie)
Generation Foot start list
1-Mohamed Niare (goalie)
4-Djibril Diop (captain)
7-Insa Pape Badji
11-Albert J. Boughazelli
20-Mor Baye War
25-Omar Cheikhou Ndiaye
for LPRC Oilers VS Generation Foot
Referee: Kouassi Attisso Attiogbe (Togo)
Assistant referee #1: Adam Moukaila Biyao (Togo)
Assistant referee #2: Abdou Kpelafia (Togo)
Fourth official: Aklesso Gnama (Togo)
Commissioner: Munkaila Nassam Adam (Ghana)