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26-Game Unbeaten Run Broken in Liberia’s Premier League

LISCR FC’s unbeaten run in 26 games ended by LPRC Oilers.

Liberia’s First Division champions LISCR FC suffered their first defeat since December 3rd 2016, after losing 2-0 to group-toppers LPRC Oilers yesterday evening at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.

The match was the resumption of phase two of the 2018 league season.

The Group B top spot was at stake after the first-leg ended with LISCR beating Oilers 2-1.

Oilers returned with a better performance from the start of the match and made several attempts in the first quarter before breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute after striker Randy Dukuly superbly struck a left-footed effort from close range, giving outstanding goalkeeper Ashely Williams no chance.

LISCR had to do without set pieces expert midfielder Sekou Sheriff who was inexplicably left out of the squad.

Oilers maintained the 1-0 lead until the halftime break.
Upon returning from the break, LISCR appeared to have found their rhythm and kept their opponents on the back-foot as they intensified the pressure.

In his quest to salvage a point and continue his unbeaten streak, Coach Tapha Manneh later made three changes in his team introducing strikers Alloy Brown, Mark Paye and midfielder Markey Morgan.

Brown could have equalized but watched his diving header from a close range go wide after being fed by right-back Doe Kah.

The league champions began exerting more force when Oilers had a man shown his marching orders in Nuwo Johnson for a second bookable offense, but Coach Cooper Sannah put his best strategy into place and introduced former LISCR midfielder Fred Brooks.

Brooks served a reminder to his ex-employers of what they were missing as his introduction yielded the best result as his powerful header deflected on the crossbar, hitting the back of goalkeeper Ashley Williams’ head into the net.

The result brought Gambian coach Tapha Manneh’s unbeaten league run since December 3, 2016, to an end.

After signing a three-year deal with the Shipping Boys, the former Gamtel FC coach had a remarkable debut season last term winning the league title unbeaten in 22 games (10 wins, 12 draws) and also won the Knockout Cup (FA Cup) where he conceded a single defeat.

Photo: Tapha Manneh

Photo: Tapha Manneh

On July 23, 2017, Manneh broke former Keitrace FC coach Gabriel Johns’ unbeaten record of 19 games when he was with LPRC Oilers. The Gambian made the milestone after his side drew 2-2 draw with LPRC Oilers at the ATS to set a new record of 20 unbeaten league games, 25 in all competitions.

Before the start of this new league season, the 53-year-old Gambian coach, first foreign coach to win double titles in debut season, was named ‘Best Coach’ of the 2016/2017 league season.

Although the unbeaten league run has been broken, Coach Manneh now has a record of 26 unbeaten league games (12 wins, 14 draws)- the longest in Liberia First Division league history.

The champions are now second in Group B, two points behind leaders LPRC Oilers, with three matches left.


Featured images: Anthony Kokoi

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