Second Half Slumber Cost Lone Star Against Guinea Bissau
By Wleh Bedell
After their stunning 1-0 win against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia on September 5, 2015 in a 2017 African Cup qualifier, Coach James Debbah led Lone Star showed on October 8, that they are streets behind in being a consistent side which is one hallmark of a good team when they surrendered a goal lead to the visiting Djurtus of Guinea Bissau in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
At a vociferous Antoinette Tubman Stadium, where Africa's greatest footballer, George Weah was in the stand, the lone Star started somewhat brightly as they created few scoring chances before the 24 year old Spanish second tier club Ponferradina front man William Jebor converted from the spot in the 35th minute after Malaysian based holding midfielder Patrick Gerhardt was upended in the box.
However, a more adventurous Guinea-Bissau outfit rallied brilliantly to get back on level pegging through erratic goalkeeping from the 31 year old LPRC Oilers net minder Saylee Swen. The visitors got their goal thorough the 32 year old former Rio Ave and FC porto holding midfielder Adilson Soares Cassama who pounced on a rebound from Saylee after Guinea-Bissau's Samba Conde took a long range shot which goalkeeper Swen made a howler of, an elementary mistake by a player of his caliber, and Cassama had to pounce on it.
With an unchanged line up that pinned Tunisia, the Lone Star created few anxious moments with Jebor failing to finish a Francis Doe's cross in the early stages.. In a rather 4-4-1-1 formation, Guinea Bissau looked passive from the onset with the big man Malada Bald Amido literally isolated upfront and Lone Star with their so-called traditional 4-4-2 formation were proactive.
Zah Kranger, Anthony Laffor and Sam Johnson all made in-roads with an aim to get a break through as Solomon Grimes and Gizzie Dorbor trioeed to venture forward. But, a plethora of corner and free kicks were all wasted by the Lone Star as the visitors kept them at bay. As the game progressed, it was evident that the Lone Star still lacked a playmaker just like the game against Tunisia as the duo of Jebor and Doe struggled to get quality supply of passes.
On the balance of play however, a penalty was awarded after Gerhardt was brought down in the box, a decision the visitors vehemently opposed claiming the Swiss raised player was fouled outside the box. Jebor kept his composure to slot it in 15 minutes to the interval as a lively Lone Star had their noses in front. Striker Doe once more proved a handful as he dribbled pass a couple of defenders, but it seems he was a bit over enthusiastic as he squandered a chance, not once but twice with Kohn Dirkir Glay and CaptainTeah Dennis working with the rest of the back four to ensure Saylee was protected as the team went to the dressing room 1-0 up.
In the second half though, the Lone Star went in slumber, switched off, lacked spark as the allowed the travelers to take the game to them. Saylee was forced to make a save after a corner was headed and the hosts began to show signs of weakness. With no penetration, too much high crosses in the box and the predictable long balls from the back coupled with pointless side way passes, Guinea Bissau began to have a foothold in the melee and almost got the leveler, but good intervention from Grimes denied the burly Amido with only Saylee to contend with.
The hosts would however equalize as a result of a horrendous error from Saylee after 63 minutes and with the returnee Dioh Williams coming on for Zah and Laffor surprisingly substited for Murvee Oscar Dolley and Marcus Macaulay, another returnee, coming on for Gerhardt, the story remained the same, though Dolley proved once more why he should be a starter on the team despite being a local lad as he made several clever moves and tee up teammates, but Macaulay could not just settle as the Lone Star failed to rotate the score line and are now on the brink of elimination from the qualifiers judging from their poor traveler status.