National team head coach Thomas Kojo said he went into yesterday’s match for a win and he ultimately got it and two first-half goals from center-defender Teah Dennis and captain William Jebor were the deciding moments for the Lone Star to collect their first win in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers that will prepare them against Zimbabwe on Nov. 16.
Lone Star took the lead in the 15th minute through defender Dennis who made his way through with a header from left-back Aloysius Simujla’s cross from a set piece from the right angle of Congo’s defense.
With so much pressure on the back of the national team to deliver after their 3-1 loss away in Brazzaville, Lone Star wasted no time and doubled their lead 14 minutes after forward Anthony Laffor provided a brilliant assist for skipper Jebor.
Congo, meanwhile, scored a consolation goal a minute later through striker Prince Ibara, who was also on the scoresheet in Brazzaville.
Minutes before halftime, Laffor attempted to increase Lone Star’s lead after cutting inside the Congolese defense, but goalkeeper Chancel Massa was in the right position to deny the 33 year-old from getting his name on the score sheet.
Congo later troubled Lone Star’s defense for an equalizer before the halftime break, but Liberia’s full-back stood the test of time to maintain the lead for the break.
Upon resumption of the second half, Laffor had a clear opportunity to increase his team’s lead through a diving header. Jebor increased his speed to collect a long pass from the defense and brilliantly swung in the cross, but goalkeeper Massa was again in the best position to make the save.
Midfielders Murphy Dorley and Allen Njie were again outstanding in the midfield for Lone Star as Kpah Sherman, who formed part of Coach Thomas Kojo’s starting lineup for the second time, kept pressurizing the Congolese’s defense.
The visitors continued to push for an equalizer in the second half, but met up with a defensive wall, as Lone Star kept their defensive composure intact.
It became more intensive as the final minutes on the clock kept winding down. The Congolese kept Lone Star under pressure, but goalkeeper Ashley Williams was the right man between the goalposts at the right time.
Following the sound of the final whistle, a joyous moment for players, technical staff and supporters took over the field because Lone Star, with the victory, collected their first win since October 13, 2015, when they defeated Guinea-Bissau 3-1 in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
Yesterday’s result was a sigh of relief for Lone Star in their quest to qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Despite the win, the red, white and blue boys remain at the bottom of Group G with four points — leveled on points with Congo, who are in the third position on goal difference.
In the group’s other match Group G, the Warriors of Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo played to a 1-1 stalemate in Harare, Zimbabwe. Khama Billiat put Zimbabwe in front in the first minute, connecting Talent Chawapiwa’s cross in the opening attack of the game, before DR Congo equalized a minute later through an own goal by Teenage Hadebe who failed to clear Mpeko’s cross, according to Soccer24.com. The Warriors are now 8 points on top while DRC have five.