BY: Christopher C. Walke
Poor finishing denied Barrack Young Controllers a victory against SuperSport United from South Africa in the Confederation of African Football Cup match at the famous Antoinette Tubman Stadium, as right back Karleo Anderson missed a penalty in a feisty 1-1 draw on Sunday April 9, 2017.
BYC started the match in fascinating style, with LFA’s last season top goal scorer Mark Paye’s shot in the second minute of the match rolling off the goal post by inches to the disbelief of fans.
United’s Muchal Morton shot was saved by the BYC goalkeeper Sambeh in the 4th minute.
A minute later Prince Saydee’s cut from the right side of United, but his right footed shot was tip over the cross bar by the SuperSport keeper Ronwen Williams.
With lots of pressure from the home fans BYC dominated the first ten minutes of the encounter with David Tweh three shots towards goal, all off target.
Abdulai Bility, who scored against Club Ferroviario De Beria header was tip over the post by Williams, who produced several spectacular saves during the match.
SuperSport got the match opener in the 11th minute from a Thuso Phala cross which beat the entire BYC defense as the defenders were ball watching leaving the unmarked Fagri Latay to scored from close range.
The home side mounted pressure on the visitors with lot of long range shots from Karleo, Tweh, Paye, and Gideon Williams all off target.
Randy Dukuly slicing header, from a Hilton Varney cross equalized the score for BYC in the 26th minute. BYC was awarded a penalty in the 33rd minute, for a hand ball on Keegan Ritchie after prince Saydee cross hit Keegan hand in the penalty box. The Central referee from Cape Verde pointed to the spot for a penalty, and issued a yellow card to the United left back but to the dissatisfaction of spectators, Karleo Anderson’s poorly taken penalty was saved by the United goalie Williams.
After the equalizer, BYC brought in Sporo Somah for the injured Abdulai Bility in the 38th minute.
United’s counter attack was stop by Prince Jetoh who intercepted a dangerous ball from the skillful Thabo who tried to connect Phala.
A minute to the end of the first half Mark Paye missed a clear opportunity to give the home side their second goal, his “one on one” ball was miscalculated, rolling off the post, ending the first half 1-1.
Back from the dressing room, SuperSport Michal Morton shot was again saved by Allenton Sembeh of BYC.
BYC control much of the second half with the dominance ball possession restricting the visitor to play much of the second period in their own half.
Dukuly’ s shot from close range was beautifully saved by Williams after a Saydee cross.
United made their first substitution in the 59th minute bringing on Jeremy Brookie the big striker for goal scorer Latay, while Keengan who had a difficult match against Prince Saydee, was replaced by Orismor Bhasera.
BYC had to withdraw Gideon Williams in the 66 minute for experienced midfielder Sylvanus Morris, who’s long ball to his attackers could have killed the game, but Saydee “one on one” ball was saved by Williams; Dukuly, and Paye balls, all denied in the second half.
Paye was replaced by Ketu Jerbo in the 79th minute; his introduction could not save his club from sharing the points with SuperSport United, as the game ended BYC 1: SuperSport United 1.
BYC played the match without two starters: Captain Van-Dave Harmon (groin) and mid-fielder Koffa “Zeek” Dougbeh suspended after two yellow cards in their previous matches .
BYC coach Copper Sannah made no excuses for his team’s lack of scoring but said they are working on it and will put up a good show on the return leg in Pretoria, South Africa on April 19.
"What happened was that we played phenomenal in the first half and should have been winning 3-1 or 4-1, then it ended up 1-1” he told journalist at the post-match press conference.
“Who can I blame? Ourselves! Nobody else. We missed big chances. We felt pressure of the clock running down and lost the quality of our attacking football.”
Sannah said “we are going into the second leg and it’s open now, if they can come here and get an away goal, we can do the same we will fight to qualify away just as we did in Mali”.
“United is a very good and experience team but we have played them and hope to make some major changes come the second leg the BYC coach said”.
Also, speaking SuperSport United Coach Stuart Baxter praised BYC and said they are going to South Africa to plan more for the young “Go Blue Boys.”
“The coach of BYC is doing well with his team they are a great team with talent, in 1-2 years they should be one of the best on the continent, but we’ll wait and see what happens in South Africa”.
“We played well in defense because they attack us with everything which made it difficult for us to play, but my guys did well I must appreciate them.”