Leone Stars could not hold their emotions as they burst into tears after they narrowly lost to the Super Eagles of Nigeria by a solitary goal at the National Stadium last Saturday.
It was an 87th minute goal from defender Joseph Yobo which transformed the jam packed stadium into a cemetery at night. The goal originated from a scramble after a flagkick and it was painful to watch as the ball lazily strolled into the net.
At the end of the match the Leone Stars players burst into tears after they had put up a remarkable performance that had kept the palms of spectators warm with clapping throughout the match duration.
Had the Gods of soccer been on the side of Sierra leone the results would have been three nil by the half time whistle.
Striker Kai Kamara, plying his trade in the United States of America, missed a golden opportunity after Super Eagles defender Taye Taiwo blundered, but with only goalkeeper Vincent to beat, he sent the shot wide.
That was in the 11th minute, and it was a miss that would agonisingly be remembered by most fans.
Eleven minutes later he let go another beautiful shot beating the eagles goalkeeper but again the Gods of soccer did not favour the home side as the shot hit the left goalpost and rebounded into play.
Another golden opportunity was scrambled when in the 41st minute, striker Sheriff Suma watched with utter dismay as his goal bound shot hit the crossbar and sailed out of play, leaving the eager spectators rueing another agonizing miss.
The tide was so rough for the Nigerians during that segment that dangerous tackling was resorted to that resulted in Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi being shown the yellow card by the Liberian Referee Sam Korti
Leone Stars were riding high until the end of the first half.
On resumption of play, the Nigerian bench made some tactical changes that saw John Utaka being replaced by Odemwijia Osazewinde, and Mikel Obi for Olofingana Oluwaseyi.
The former changed the pace of the match as Super Eagles went on the offensive, creating more pressure on the seemingly tired Leone Stars players.
However the continued pressure on the Leone Stars did not dent their aspirations as midfield dynamo Ibrahim “Obreh” Kargbo, successfully cancelled out the dangerous moves by the Eagles players ably assisted in the defence under the command of Umaru Bangura.
When it all looked like a draw was to be the outcome the heart breaker came in the 87th minute with the goal from defender Joseph Yobo who plys his trade in England with Everton.
Despite the single goal defeat fans were still supportive of the national side and, unlike the past when they openly abuse the players for their lackluster performance this time around they were hailed for their excellent performance, despite the chances of making it to Angola and the World Cup seem to be fading with each game.