RETURN LEG WILL BE A TALL ORDER FOR LIBERIA
AFTER CONCEDING A CHEAP GOAL
Liberia, Guinea Bissau share the spoils in 2018 World Cup at ATS
By Danesius Marteh
Liberia conceded a very cheap goal in the 63rd minute to draw 1-1 with Guinea Bissau in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on Thursday.
Spain-based William Jerbo of Ponferradina converted a 36th minute penalty when Malaysia-based Patrick Gerhardt of Sarawak was brought down in the box after he tried to expertly dribble through the defense from a Zah Krangar through ball.
But defender Malado Reld Anido reacted well to head home a Zezinho shot, which was poorly blocked by goalie Saylee Swen, after the rebound fell kindly into his path.
Zezinho could have found the equalizer in the 56th minute when he easily drove through the defense before defender Solomon Grimes averted the danger.
Swen, who was virtually on a holiday, was only called into action with the visitors’ first real attempt on goal, fumbling with the ball in what others may describe as man against nature.
With Zezinho’s thumping shot in a scorching sunlight, Swen must have been caught pants down but should have parried the ball away to safety.
From that moment, the visitors depicted the pace, which was characterized by unnecessary time wasting from the medics and players before Bocundji Ca was booked for unnecessarily kicking the ball out of play in the 67th minute.
Liberia should have put the game to bed in the first half but Francis Grandpa Doe and Jerbo, who scored two superb goals in a practice match on Wednesday, were guilty of near misses to the disbelief of the spectators.
First, Jerbo miscued a Doe cross on six minutes and Doe’s header, courtesy of a Krangar cross, went agonizingly over the goal line by the narrowest of margin in the 15th minute.
On 43 minutes, Doe drove home a ground shot against the run of play but it was easily saved by goalkeeper Jonas Asvedo Mendes before another missed chance, having eliminated two markers with only Mendes at his mercy on the stroke of half time.
With a lion share of possession, which amounted to few chances and a happy half time lead, coach James Debbah was understandably frustrated at the final whistle.
“I am disappointed of the fact that we didn’t play the second half up to expectation. We weren’t tactically disciplined and the evitable happened. This is a team; I am not going to hold a particular player [for the result].
“Everybody is point finger to Saylee Swen. Yes, Saylee Swen made a mistake but then the ball came back and nobody was there. So it is the entire team. I am not going to hold or shift blame on one person. We didn’t really play good in the second half,” he said.
Coach Debbah, who was appointed in November 2014 and has drawn two, won one and lost two matches, believes the return leg is still open.
“In football, anything can happen. We have to go to Guinea Bissau and play as hard as possible and scored an away goal too. But I know it is going to be difficult but, in football, there is always a possibility,” Debbah added.
Following an impressive 1-0 win over Tunisia in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the ATS on September 5, Debbah’s head is now being demanded.
“My impression is Debbah is not a coach. Grandpa Doe and William Jerbo didn’t do anything do on the field and then he substituted Snothi Laffor, who was pressing and passing football. Debbah is not a coach [and we should] removed him,” said Emmanuel Tweh “Selah’ Doe, who played for Young Rollers in the Borough of New Kru Town.
With Vice President Joseph Boakai, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe, Liberty Party political leader Charles Brumskine and wife; Liberia Football Association President Musa Bility and scores of football and political leaders in attendance, Liberia couldn’t hold onto their lead and allowed the visitors to leave Monrovia with a crucial point and away goal away.
But Cape Verde coach Paulo Torres of Portugal who has been handed a four-match ban by Caf for "offensive language and insults toward the referee" in Zambia four months ago, is looking forward to meeting Ivory Coast.
“Liberia is a good team; is a very very good team. In Bissau, Liberia will play well as she did today but we’ll still qualify [for the next round],” said Torres in a minute as he boarded the team’s bus.
Liberia: 1-Saylee Swen, 8-Solomon Grimes, 4-Gizzie Dorbor, 3-Teah Dennis (captain), 5-Dirkir Glay, 18-Anthony Laffor (14-Oscar Murphy Dorley 73’), 11-Zah Krangar (9-Dioh Williams 65’), 6-Patrick Gerhardt (12-Marcus Macaulay 76’), 17-Sam Johnson, 15-Francis Grandpa Doe and 10-William Jerbo.
Unused substitutes: Sekou Conneh, Adolphus Marshall, Trokon Zeon, Tommy Song’o, Raymond Fanciah, Abel Gebor, Sporo Somah and Hilton Varney.
Guinea Bissau: 1-Jonas Asvedo Mendes, 3-Samba Cande 4-Nunes C. Silva Edson Ricardo, 5-Ibraima Cassama, 6-Mendes Umpeca Eridson, 7-Jose Luis Mendes Lopes (Zizinho), 10-Ca Bocundji, captain; 11-Malado Reld Amido, 13-Sami Leocisio (8-Ibraima So 78’), 17-Soares Cassama Ivanildo and 22-Cande Mauadu.
Unused Substitutes: 9-Sanches Semedo Cicero Casmiro, 12-Germano Mendes, 16-Emilio Da Silva, 18-Ansumane Faty Junior, 19-Bazile Carvalho and 21-Arnauld Mendes.
Cape Verdean match officials: Fabricio DUARTE, referee; Jose PINA, assistant #1; Albertino LOPES, assistant #2; Antonio RODRIGUES, fourth official