Liberia First Division and FA Cup champions LISCR Football Club has taken a step toward reaching the first-round qualifiers of the 2018 CAF Champions League after winning 26-times Sudanese Premier League Champions, Al-Hilal.
The Shipping Boys went against all odds to beat Hilal first leg of the 2018 CAF Champions League preliminary round. The Liberian champions collected all three points on home soil after a 1-0 win over the visitors. Sheku Sheriff scored goal from a set-piece at the edge of the box was the difference between the two teams after the full 90 minutes.
With both teams eager to score in the early minutes, there was no clear chance until the 18th minute when Bully Drammeh was fouled at the edge of the penalty box. Sheku Sheriff stepped up and took the set-piece that he converted to a goal. Sheriff curved the ball in the upper left corner of Al-Hilal’s goal to beat Cameroonian goalkeeper, Loik Maxime in the 20th minute.
The Shipping Boys took a well-deserved lead and awakened the fans at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium. Hilal search for an equalizer didn’t materialized in the remaining minutes in the first half as they went to the break with a goal down.
The Shipping Boys went to the break with the lead against Hilal that failed to get the score level. Back on the pitch after the break, Hilal search for equalizer continues against LISCR that was hoping to double their lead to go the second leg with an added advantage. Hilal returned from the break much stronger as they tried to hold on the ball while in search of the equalizer.
Coach Tapha Manneh made his first substitution when he brought on former BYC’s left-back, Hilton Varney for Daniel Woto in the 60th minute. He later introduced, Edward Ledlum and Prince Urey for Amadiah Kawah and Mark Paye respectively in the 68th and 78th minute as he went in search of more goals at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium. Ledlum and Drammeh came close to doubling the lead in the 75th and 80th minute but was denied by Hilal shot stopper, Maxime who was careful of conceding for the second time.
The Crescent came very close to getting the score level in the 85th minute but was denied by Tommy Songo who hit the ball over the bar for a corner.
After the match, coach, Tapha Manneh to the media that he was pleased with the result.
“I’m not surprise with the win, we have been really working for it. We want to be a champion. If you want to be a champion, you have to beat a champion and that’s what we did today. The most important thing is that we got the three points. That was the score today and we are satisfy with the result“, Coach Manneh said in a post-match press conference.
Coach Manneh praised his goal scorer, Sheku Sheriff for scoring the match only goal. “We are doing very well but Sheku Sheriff did a wonderful job. Scoring that goal was a lot. From an impossible angle, nobody was expecting it to be a goal but he has been doing it in training ground and he brought that to the game.“
The Shipping Boys will need to avoid defeat in the return leg in Sudan to reach the first-round qualifiers. The return leg will be on Tuesday, February 20 at the Al-Hilal Stadium in Khartoum.
The match was witnessed by former FIFA World Player of the year, George Manneh Weah who is the newly elected president of Liberia.