Barrack Young Controllers were on Wednesday, October 17, crowned champions of the 2018 Liberia Football Association First Division League for the 4th time after edging out LPRC Oilers 4-2 in a Post-match penalties shootout at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
The ‘Go Blue’ boys celebrated their silverware and a L$750,000 cash prize presented to them on a decorated stage mounted at then Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
This triumph for BYC also earned them a ticket to the 2018/19 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League as Liberia’s representatives.
Runners-up LPRC Oilers received L$450,000 as cash prize.
Both teams reached the championship final after emerging as winners of Groups A and B with 17 points apiece out of eight games.
William Freeman put BYC in front in the 3rd minute, connecting midfielder James Walatee’s through pass in an early attack.
LPRC Oilers could have gotten the equalizer in six minutes, but had their goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh to thank after making a brilliant save to deny Solomon Wesseh’s header.
However, Oilers leveled the scores 1-1 through midfielder Ebenezer Solo’s spot kick. The penalty resulted from right-back Jeremy Saygbe’s foul against Stanley Whitfield.
Moments later, Oilers doubled their lead in the 40th minute after striker capitalized on a defensive error in BYC defense.
Both teams went for the halftime break with Oilers in the lead 2-1. Going for the break with such a result was a disappointing moment for for BYC coach Robert Lartey after his team had missed chances that could have put them ahead.
Nonetheless, the ‘Go Blue Boys’ returned from the break, showing no sign of slowing down. Coach Lartey later introduced striker Mustapha Lomell, replacing Kaweku Mensah to carry out more attacks.
Lomell’s introduction yielded to a positive result after slotting home the equalizer for BYC in the 69th minute. Lomell sent in a rebound after striker Trokon Myers’ strike was save by goalkeeper Saylee Swen.
Oilers suffered a setback after centre-defender Alvin Maccornel, who featured for the full 90 minutes in Liberia’s 2-1 over Congo on Tuesday, October 16, sustained an injury and had to be subbed off.
Nuwo Johnson had an opportunity to reclaim the lead for Oilers when left-back Aloysius Simujla brilliantly swung in a long range cross, but Johnson failed to control the cross as the ball slipped away from his boot.
The scores remained at 2-2 after regular time of play, sending the match to extra time. The two sides could not get another goal in the extra time and had decide the match winners and champions from the penalty shootout.
During the penalty kicks, BYC scored four out of five while Oilers converted two out of four kicks.
During a short trophy and award presentation ceremony held after the final whistle, BYC bagged home three individual awards. BYC forward, Kelvin Potis, was awarded the “George Manneh Weah Most Valuable Player” (MVP) for his outstanding performance during the league season; Robert Lartey as Best Coach and Trokon Myers as Highest Scorer with nine goals.
LPRC Oilers left-back Aloysius Simujla won the “Washington Blay Best Defender Award”, while Saylee Swen was awarded the “David Momo Best Goalkeeper Award.”
Each of the individual awards were accompanied by a trophy and cash prizes.