Two MLS players were involved in a heartstopping conclusion to a tense World Cup qualifying series on Sunday, as Liberia held off Sierra Leone’s furious second-leg rally on a rain-soaked pitch in Freetown to advance to the next round of Africa’s road to Qatar 2022.
After Real Salt Lake striker Sam Johnson scored the final – and eventually crucial – goal in Liberia’s 3-1 first-leg win on home soil on Thursday, the Colorado Rapids’ Kei Kamara spearheaded Sierra Leone’s comeback bid in Sunday’s second-leg decider in front of a packed home crowd at Siaka Stevens Stadium.
Kamara saw an overhead kick cleared off the line and another shot stopped by 18-year-old Liberian goalkeeper Ashley Williams. The MLS veteran finally hit the net early in the second half, and when the Leone Stars earned a penalty kick deep in second-half stoppage time they looked poised to level the tie 3-3 on aggregate and advance via the away-goal tiebreaker.
Williams dived to his left to save captain Umaru Bangura’s spot kick, however, clinching Liberia’s victory and advancement to the group stage of CAF qualifying, while Sierra Leone were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion.
YOU ARE MY CAPTAIN Umaru Bangura and I am there with you through any weather. I have witnessed it multiple times when you made us happy and dance. You are the best, the country will wake up today and realize you have made us all cheer many times before 🙏🇸🇱. pic.twitter.com/LquKNWzNRK— KEI KAMARA (@keikamara) September 9, 2019