LISCR FC goalkeeper Ashley Williams will be the sporting hero for the unforeseeable period following a stellar performance as Liberia qualified to the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Williams saved a stoppage-time penalty from Sierra Leone captain Umaru Bangura in the 90+4th minute in front of a sell-out crowd at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown on Sunday.
America-based Kei Kamara had given the hosts a 55 minute lead against the run of play, slotting in between defenders Teah Dennis and Alvin Maccornel to beat the onrushing Williams in goalie.
So it was much more of a relief for Williams, who also denied Kamara from scoring a brace.
The Colorado Rapids striker was unmarked in the six-yard box when he headed for a tight angle in the 18-yard box but Williams dived to deny him a double.
Kamara could have found the curtain raiser when Williams’ goal clearance set him up for a scissor kick on the ark of the 18-yard box in the first half but Maccornel was on hand to clear it in equal fashion.
Sierra Leone won 1-0 but were eliminated 3-2 on aggregate, having lost the first leg 3-1 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe sports complex in Paynesville on 4 September.
The second round will see the top 26 ranked teams joined by the 14 winners from the first round, who will be drawn into 10 groups of four teams.
Liberia: 3-Teah Dennis, 4-Alvin Maccornel, 6-Allen Njie, 9-Kpah Sherman, 12-Gasimu Kouyateh, 13-Joel Johnson (15-Eugene Swen 53’), 17-Sam Johnson (captain), 19-Oscar Dorley, 20-Seth Kanteh Hellberg (7-Mohammed Sangare 57’), 21-Terrance Tisdell, 23-Ashley Williams (goalie)
Yellow cards: Njie 26’, Terrance 45’, Hellberg 49’, Williams 77’ and Dennis 90+6’
SOURCE: Liberia Football Association