Thursday Sep 05, 2019. 01:30
Two penalties and calamitous defensive error allowed Liberia to post a 3-1 win over neighbours Sierra Leone in Wednesday’s first leg of their first round tie in Monrovia as the visitors marked their return to world football after a year-long FIFA ban.
Terrence Tisdell netted an 18th minute penalty to hand new Liberia coach Peter Butler the perfect start to his tenure but Kwame Quee equalised in the 56th minute after the visitors came back strongly in the second half.
It was substitute Mohamed Sangare who restored the lead, also from the penalty spot, before Johnson took advantage of hesitation in the visiting defence to head home with just two minutes left.
Liberia could have been ahead as early as 18 seconds into the game as skipper Sam Johnson fed Kpah Sherman, who hit the post from close range only to see the ball bounce out.
Sierra Leone, banned by FIFA for political interference in the affairs of their football association, conceded a penalty when Ismail Koroma bundled down Sherman although it looked a harsh decision from Benin referee Louis Houngnandande Tisdell stepped up to score with a decisive strike that gave Solomon Morris no chance.
But Sierra Leone fought back in the second half.
John Kamara missed a good chance as he arrived later with an attempted header in the 50th minute at the end of Mustapha Dumbuya’s freekick.
But six minutes later the rivals were all square as Hassan Sesay’s long throw was won in the air by Musa Noah Kamara, who found Iceland-based Quee unmarked at the back post for an easy finish.
Both teams, watched by Liberia president George Weah, battled on an atrocious pitch, with its long grass, uneven surface and muddy grassless patches on the side making it almost impossible to play.
Liberia also face possible sanction after the game was interrupted by pitch invaders.