Liberia Beat Tunisia 1-0 In Afcons Qualifier in Monrovia

MONROVIA—After a string of loses including a June meltdown in Lome Togo, when the Lone Stars registered first on the score sheet through a William Jerbo 43rd minute strike which was erased as the Sparrow Hawks went on to win 2-1, and a deadly Ebola virus outbreak which saw football activities suspended in the West African country with almost 5thousand deaths, very few gave Liberia’s Lone Stars a chance, ranked 160, on the fifa index.

Also a sour note before the opening whistle, with No. 1 goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman freak accident on the eve of a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the North African powerhouse, Tunisia, ranked 33rd in the World.
The Lone Stars playing at home against the “Eagles of Carthage”, somehow found a will to win to the delight of its fans.

Francis Grandpa Doe scored 10 minutes from time, to give Liberia a 1-0 win over the Tunisians at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia on Saturday. It was his fourth international goal, having scored against Cameroon, Rwanda and Cape Verde in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers these past few years.

He is also the top scorer in the Malaysian Premier League for NX Matrix, where he bagged 17 league goals this season, netting also the league’s golden booth. Liberia could have won by a three or four-goal margin, but Doe and strike-partner William Jebor were guilty of missed opportunities or were denied by goalkeeper, Aymen Mathlouthi.

Fans trouped to the stadium in their national colors on match day to support the team, as the Lone Stars and Coach Debbah fielded a new team captain in two games, with Spain based William Jerbo captaining the team in Togo, while defender Teah Dennis, captained the Tunisian match at home.

After Doe’s 89th minute goal, the Tunisians opened-up and Yasine Chikouqua, who scored a hat-trick against Djibouti on June 13, almost fashioned an equalizer, when he received a defense splitting pass but, the Lone Stars’ Dirkar Glay was alert preventing the danger. The win will ease the pressure on Coach Debbah, who has come under sustained media criticism, from both home and abroad.

Goal Keeper Saylee Swen marked his return to the international football after more than four years in the wilderness.

“Our victory today came through the understanding of the players, our head coach and members of his technical staff and we hope to do more in our remaining games in the competition. I call on my fellow players for us to remain united as we struggle,” Laffor, who is based in South Africa, said. Laffor is Liberia’s captain. While Coach Debbah have so far used two different captains, he has not announced he have changed Laffor.

Liberia:
1-Saylee Swen,
8-Solomon Grimes,
4-Gizzie Dorbor,
3-Teah Dennis (captain),
5-Dirkir Glay, 18-Anthony Laffor,
11-Zah Krangar (14-Oscar Dorley-68’),
6-Patrick Gerhardt,
17-Sam Johnson,
15-Francis Grandpa Doe and 9-William Jerbo.

Unused substitutes:
10-Sekou Jabateh-Oliseh,
7-Sekou Conneh, 13-Henry Berron and 2-Adolphus Marshall.

Tunisia:
16-Aymen Mathlouthi,
9-Yassine Chikhaoui (captain),
6-Hocine Ragued,
4-Salim Djemia,
7-Youssef Msakni,
2-Alaya Brigui, Aymen Abdennour
11-Sebeur Khalire,
18-Hamdi Nagfguer,
6-Aoussia Raguod,
13-Hamza Lahmar and
8-Siyan Yousse

Substitutes:
1-Farouk Mustapha, 17-Hanza Mathlouthi, 5-Ammer Jamel, 14-Aymen Amoz and 8-Foki Yousef

Match officials:
Maudo Jallow, Center Referee; Dickory Jawo, Assistant Referee #1; Karamo Forbes, Assistant Referee #2.

Danesius Marteh, danesius.marteh@frontpageafricaonline.com;

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