Liberia’s First Division champions LPRC Oilers advanced to the First Round of the CAF Champions League for the first time since 1993 after edging out Togolese champions Asko De Kara 4-2 on aggregate on Sunday afternoon.
Oilers suffered a 2-1 loss away on Sunday after securing an advantage with a 3-0 win in the first-leg at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium on September 12.
Down 3-0 on aggregate, Asko De Kara were hungry for goals to overturn the result. The home side broke the deadlock in the 21st minute, hoping to get additional goals in the first 45 but was unlucky as the first half ended 1-0.
Asko did not slow down in their attacks as they went on to double their lead in the 56th minute, giving coach Cooper Sannah and boys more work to do. Oilers maintained their defensive posture and prevented the home side from getting another goal and finally dashed the Togolese’s hope of making a comeback by scoring a late goal in the 6th minute of added time through striker Terry Sackor.
The last time Oilers advanced to the First Round of the Champions League was in 1993, when they were making their second appearance in the competition, then the African Cup of Champions Clubs.
The Oil Boys progressed to the First Round for the first time in 1993, after their Preliminary round’s opponents, Étoile Filante of Togo withdrew from the competition. Unfortunately, research shows that Oilers were eventually ejected from the competition and fined US$3,000 after Liberian immigration officials refused the Tunisian side, Club Africain, entry into the country for the first leg.
Oilers made their debut appearance in the competition in 1992 when they suffered a 3-2 aggregate defeat against Sierra Leonean side Mighty Blackpool. They also failed to cross the preliminaries in their third and fourth appearances in 2006 and 2019/20, respectively.
According to the fixtures, Oilers will now face Moroccan giants and CAF Confederation Cup holders Raja Club Athletic, also known as Raja Casablanca, in the next round of the competition.
Raja competed in Botola, the top tier of Moroccan football. They have domestically won twelve League titles and eight Moroccan Knockout Cups. Nicknamed the Green Eagles, they have won three CAF Champions Leagues, two Confederation Cup, one CAF Cup, two CAF Super Cups, one Afro-Asian Club Championship, two Arab Club Champions Cups, one North African cup, and one silver medal in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The first leg of the next round is expected to play between October 15-16, and the second leg October 22-23. The last time the Moroccan giants played a Liberian team was in 1990 when they defeated Mighty Barrolle 3-2 on aggregate. Barrolle lost 2-0 in the first leg and won the second leg 2-1.