Coach Butler Proud of Lone Star’s Performance Despite 2-0 Loss to Nigeria

Liberia’s British coach Peter Butler (L) speaks with his players during the FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification football match between Nigeria and Liberia at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP).  

-- Set to face Central African Republic today

Liberia senior men’s team coach Peter Butler is proud of his team’s performance against Nigeria despite losing 2-0.

Super Eagles and Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho ensured that his country kicked off their world cup qualifiers on a winning note by scoring twice in the first half to seal the 2-0 win at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Friday, September 3, 2021.

“I was very proud of our young team yesterday. We were up against a very good team who possess excellent top-flight players, congrats to Nigeria, but we gave them a run for their money,” coach Butler tweeted after the match.

The British tactician maintained his 3-5-2 system, using three youngsters Sampson Dweh, Prince Blade, and Jeremy Segbe as defenders with Ashley Williams starting on goal.

Oscar Dorley and Terrence Tisdell were placed in the midfield position but also played as wingers and fullbacks per changes in the formation on the field.  Debutant Abraham Soumaoro gained the admiration of Liberians due to his outstanding performance while playing the defensive midfielder. Soumaoro is a new addition to the national team.

As was expected, Nigeria dominated the match from the start as the combination of Victor Osimhen and Iheanacho kept the youthful Liberian defense on its back-foot. The Super Eagles broke the deadlock on the 23rd minute after Alex Iwobi set up Iheanacho, who then fired home a powerful low left-footed strike that beat goalkeeper Williams at the near post.

The second and final goal came at the stroke of halftime from a throw down the right side of Liberia’s defense after Jeremy and Sampson failed to head out the ball against Victor Osimhen. This led to Iwobi flicking the ball backward with Iheanacho who perfectly controlled it and scored his second goal of the game.

The Lone Star raised the tempo in the final half of the match and became more aggressive after the introduction of David Tweh, Abu Kamara, and Peter Wilson, but were unable to find the back of the net, ending the match with the 2-0 scoreline. Nigeria is now top of the group with three points, followed by Cape Verde and C.A.R with one point apiece and Liberia with zero points.

FT: Nigeria 2 (Iheanacho 23′, 45′) - 0 Liberia 

Lineups

Nigeria: Okoye, Aina, Ekong, Balogun, Collins, Ndidi, Aribo (Etebo 90’+2), Iheanacho (Musa 85′), Iwobi (Shehu 85′), Osimhen (Onuachu 78′), Simon (Kalu 78′).

Liberia: Williams; Segbay, Dweh, Balde, Macauley (Tweh 82′), Njei, Doeley, Soumaoro, Tisdell, (Kamara 57′), Kosiah, Sherman (Wilson 77′).  

Lone Star Face Central African Republic Today

The Lone Star will look to secure their first win today when they face hosts C.A.R at the Japoma Stadium in Cameroon.

Today’s match should have been Liberia’s first home match after CAF banned the SKD Sports Stadium and requested that Liberia used Cameroon as their home ground, but authorities of the Liberia Football Association and CAR Football Association reached a mutual agreement to reverse Match Day 2 order ( Liberia vs. CAR) to Match Day 6 (CAR Vs. Liberia). 

CAF agreed to both Fas as today’s match will count as Match Day 6, with CAR hosting Liberia. This means Liberia will now host CAR in November on Match Day 6 with the hope that SKD Sports will be approved to host international matches as works are said to be ongoing.