LISCR FC’s journey in the 2018-19 CAF Confederation Cup began with a huge disappointment as the Shipping Boys bow to a disappointing 4-0 defeat away at USM Bel Abbes in Algeria.
Coach Tapha Manneh led his boys to the pitch with a 4-3-3 formation which saw 18-year-old shot stopper Ashley Williams in goal, Kemoh Kamara and Emmanuel Tarpeh in central defense while Darius Kah and Hilton Varney played at right and left backs.
Sekou Kamara made his official debut since joining from Keitrace in early November. Kamara played with Saah Nyumah and Sheku Sheriff in midfield. Alloy Brown and Edward Ledlum played as left and right forward while Sam Kollie started as center forward.
The Shipping Boys looked sharp from the beginning of the match by mounting pressure in the early minutes as the home side went on preventing from conceding early goal.
Sheku Sheriff’s shot deflected shot went inches from the goal through a deflection as LISCR FC grabbed the first corner of the match.
After much defending in the early minutes, the home side got themselves together as they started to push for a goal. Efforts in getting the curtain raiser were fruitless until the 21st minute when they scored from the penalty spot. Hamza Belahouel got Abbes ahead as Tapha Manneh’s side went on searching for an equalizer.
Abbes got control of the match as they took control of the match and began to create chances. However, Ashley Williams brilliant performance in goal prevented LISCR from conceding more than a goal in the first 45 minutes.
Hamza Belahouel nearly doubled Abbes lead in the 37th minute with a closed range shot which was denied by Ashley Williams. Williams continued his brilliance in goal in the 41st minute with a save from Belahouel who again shot from the six-yard box.
LISCR FC’s first chance on target came a minute in the two minutes of added time of the first half through Edward Ledlum whose shot was saved by Abbes goalkeeper, Sofiane Khedairia.
The first half ended with LISCR FC down by a goal as they had more to do in the second half.
However, Abbes returned from the break as the stronger side with lot of threat in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Again, Williams was the man to keep the scoreline at 1-0 with three incredible saves within 15 minutes.
Larbi Tabti burst through the LISCR defense in the 47th minute to shoot on goal but Williams was on time to deny Tabti. The 18-year-old shot stopper turned out to be the match hero with his fourth save in the 51st minute with a masterclass save to deny Abdelkrim Zouari.
Tapha Manneh made his first substitution in the 62nd minute when he introduced Armah Vaikainah for Sekou Kamara. Ten minutes after Vaikainah’s introduction, Sheku Sheriff nearly got the score level with a shot from 12-yards that defelected for a corner. The Shipping Boys got punished for wasting their chances in the 76th minute when Bel Abbes doubled the lead.
Tapha Manneh made his final substitutions in the 80th with the introduction of Kelvin Kollie and Prince Urey for Sam Kollie and Sheku Sheriff. The introduction of the two attackers looked to have brought light to LISCR FC’s attack but the Algerian kept pressing for more goals while preventing LISCR from scoring.
In an attempt to break through Abbes’ defense, Ledlum was brought down at the edge of the 18-yard-box giving LISCR FC the chance to convert the set piece. Saah Nyumah shot directly on goal as Khaderia made an easy save. Again, LISCR was punished for not making use of their scoring chances with a counter attack which resulted to goal.
Mohamed Seguer scored his second of the match with a to make the scoreline 3-0 in favor of Abbes and LISCR work got even harder. The three goals scored wasn’t the end for Abbes that strucked their fourth and final goal in the 90th minute. Boualem Mesmoudi’s cross from the left side was intercepted by Larbi Tabti who scored Abbes fourth goal.
Head Coach, Tapha Manneh wasn’t satisfy with his team performance as he blamed the long travel and weather which his players aren’t used to playing under.
“We aren’t satisfy with the result. My team was slow in the pitch and it’s not a good result for us. We traveled a long distance and was unable to train as scheduled. We had just one training session and my players didn’t adapt to the weather. Let me congratulate our opponents for taking thier chances in the game. Now, we have lot of work to do when we return home and we are going to prepare”, he said
The defeat means LISCR FC must get at least a 5-0 win in the return leg on Decmber 5 to advance to first qualifying of the 2018-19 CAF Confederation Cup.