Liberia yesterday progressed to the finals of the ongoing WAFU U-20 after defeating Mali 1-0 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
It was a historical moment at the SKD for many Liberians who watched their junior national team reach the final of an international competition in 32 years.
Not even the security could prevent the over-excited crowd from invading the pitch after the sound of the final whistle.
As was earlier asked, “Can Liberia Defeat Mali to Reach the Finals?” it has finally been answered and Liberia made it through.
A lone goal from Musa Kebbay in the 13th minute was enough for Coach Christopher Wreh and his boys to edge out Mali in the semis after forward Edward Ledlum provided an assist from the left flank.
Mali, who was hoping to recover from their 1-0 defeat against The Gambia, entered the match and surprisingly conceding an early goal.
However, forward Ledlum and teammate Sam Jackson were the two troublesome players against the Malian defense as they kept making more attempts on goal.
A golden opportunity for the Junior Lone Star to double their lead came in the 24th minute after forward Jackson managed to brilliantly beat the Malian defense, but failed to convert the opportunity.
Mali tried to level things up in the first 45 minutes, but goalkeeper Ashley Williams was at his best and made sure it did not happen. The lone goal in favor of Liberia kept them in the lead until the resumption of the second half.
Things became a bit different in the second half. Another clear opportunity for striker Kebbay to weaken his opponents came just 11 minutes into the second half but the lone goal scorer failed to send in Jackson’s low cross from the right angle.
Despite being down 1-0, the Malians took control of the remaining minutes of the match after Liberia broke down in attacks. They kept the host on their back but could not get a goal because of Liberia’s effective defensive posture.
Midfielder Allen Njie who captained Liberia in the absence of injured captain David Tweh was awarded the man of the match award.
In the first semi-finals match, the Scorpions of Gambia booked their ticket to the finals after defeating Cote d’Ivoire 6-5 in penalties. The match went to a shootout after both teams drew 1-1 during 90 minutes of play.
Culled from Daily Observer Liberia.