Thursday, May 5, 2011

Liberia Lone Star Outclass Nigeria Super Eagles

Lone Star's player trash talking generates scuffle

The 2011 WAFU Cup competition kicked off in Abeokuta on Thursday with the Eagles beating the Lone Stars of Liberia 1-0. The match was a closely fought one and the only goal in the match was scored by in-form striker Ekigho Ehiosun in the 20th minute of the first half.

Liberia thought they were denied a penalty in the 16th minute when Patrick Wleh dribbled his way into the Eagles box before going down under Soriola Gege's challenge. Guinean referee, Mohammed Lamine however saw no wrongdoing on the part of the Nigerian defender.

Four minutes later, the Super Eagles went ahead through Ehiosun. The goal showed all the marks of a striker high in confidence. The Eagles and U-23 poacher has been in rich goal scoring form in the last two months.

The Warri Wolves striker, following an initial one-two with Stanley Okoronkwo, made his way into the Liberian penalty area before unleashing a screamer of a shot that zoomed past goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman into the bottom corner of the Liberian net.

The goal appeared to serve as a tonic for the Liberians as they pushed forward in their numbers in search of an equalizer, which they came close to grabbing a minute from the end of the half only to be denied by goalkeeper Sunday Rotimi.

Lucky break

The second half was all Liberia, as they sought an equaliser but Sunday Rotimi, in goal for the Eagles, thwarted all their goal bound moves. About 25 minutes to the end of the match, the Liberians grew stronger while the Eagles visibly grew weaker.

The Liberians really came on strong as the second half wound down but glaring misses by Wleh and Myers Garbo did not help their cause. Wleh had the goal at his mercy in the 85th after he had gone round both Gege and Rotimi but he dallied and allowed Yinka Adedeji to put in a great block. Two minutes later, Garbo had a free header but Rotimi saved on the line.

Samson Siasia made the three changes in the second half and one of the substitutes, Victor Ezeji almost made it two on the stroke of full time but Sherman made a leaping save to his left.

After the match, Simon Kalika, assistant coach of the team said fatigue and a less than complimentary training schedule were the reasons behind the lack lustre performance by the home based Eagles. "There was no good preparation for the tournament. The players had not played for their clubs for some weeks as the league has been on break," said Kalika.

He also added: "The match fitness wasn't really there and I think we were lucky to win." The Dutchman also felt the Liberians, by virtue of their second half displays, deserved much more from the encounter.

"They deserved to equalize in the second half," he continued. "In some instances, they played better than us and deserved to equalize."

It was an opinion that concurred with those of the Liberian coach, Thomas Kojo.

"In the first half we didn't play up to expectations," he said. "But during the break, the technical staff spoke with the players and it showed in their performance during the second half.

He added: "We were unlucky not to score but we will now go back and prepare to win our next match."

Ifeanyi Ibeh and Jide Alaka reporting
Culled fron NEXT

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