Liberia picked up their first ever away win over Senegal in their 55 years head-to-head meeting.
Liberia’s local national team shockingly, yet deservingly scourged the Teranga Lions 2-1 in an Algeria 2023 African Nations Championship (CHAN) first qualifying round return leg at the Stade Abdoulaye Wade in capital Dakar on Saturday evening, 30 July.
But, that joy was cut short for the Lone Star who only saw themselves being booted out of the CHAN first qualifying round for a second consecutive time by the Lions of Teranga.
Liberia and Senegal first met in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on October 11, 1967.
Despite the historic victory for Ansu Keita’s lads, it was hosts Senegal that got the advantage to advance to the next round of the qualification series thanks to a 4-2 aggregate triumph.
Senegal had outscored Liberia 3-0 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in the first leg clash six days earlier, a result that clearly put them in a comfortable lead on aggregate heading into the final leg.
In spite of the humiliating first leg defeat, Keita and his local based squad were determined to overturn the scoreboard, but were again left trailing by a goal difference (4-0 on aggregate) in the first-half at the mercy of a Raymond Dièmé Ndour’s lone strike.
However, the Liberians who came from recess with so much energy will soon get things going their way.
Second half sub, Sidiki Kromah brought the game back to live for the Lone Star with a breathtaking equalizer just minutes after his introduction.
Liberia got the second and of course the winning goal of the evening from another sub, this time, it was Nicholas Andrews who converted from the spot to put Liberia in front for the first time after a foul was committed by a Senegalese defender all at the comforts of the Liberians who were desperate for a comeback.
The victory marked the first ever away victory for Liberia against their fellow West Africans and just their second win after meeting 17 times in head-to-head record with Senegal recording ten wins and both teams registering a pair of draw games.
Though the victory was not sufficient to help Liberia progress to the next phase in the CHAN qualifiers, but it was enough to make them the first nation to beat Senegal at their newly constructed state-of-the-art Abdoulaye Wade multimillion stadium.
Howbeit, Senegal are through to the next qualifying round as they continue to push for a place at the finals tournament which is set to take place in Algeria early next year.
This is the second consecutive time that the Senegalese impede Liberia from making it to the second qualifying round of the CHAN qualifiers.
The Senegalese again overpowered Liberia in the 2020 CHAN qualifiers by beating them 3-1 on aggregate in August of 2019. They walloped the Lone Star 3-0 in the return leg of the first quaifying round in Senegal after a one-nil win for Liberia in the first leg in Monrovia.
The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is a biennial competition that is participated only by home based players playing in their domestic leagues.
*Feature photo courtesy of: T. Kla Wesley, Jr