Substitute Abu Komeh scored late to secure a point for Sierra Leone from a 2-2 draw against a brilliant São Tomé and Principe side that led twice courtesy a brace from skipper Luis Leal Dos Anjos this Wednesday in a pulsating 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) contest in Agadir, Morocco.
The match day three AFCON qualifier fixture between the two sides playing catch up to early pacesetters Nigeria and Guinea didn’t disappoint.
Driven by the desire to be at the AFCON again after their enjoyable performance last year in Cameroon, Sierra Leone entered the contest with just a point to their name while pointless São Tomé had their heads focused on making the finals for the first time.
In the presence of hundreds of fans at the Stade Adrar in Agadir, coach Adriano Eusébio’s side forced the Leone Stars to stay deep in their half for most of the first-half.
Eba Viergas, Marcos Barbeiro and skipper Leal in the sharp point of the visitors attack that troubled the Sierra Leone back three led by former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur defender Steven Caulker in the opening 30 minutes, but couldn’t punish them.
Randers FC’s Alhaji Kamara nearly caught the visitors on the counter but shot stopper Gilmar Tavinho for São Tomé who had a relatively quiet first-half made a great safe to keep it goalless.
The Yellow and Greens were rewarded for their efforts two minutes before the break when Leal beat Ibrahim Seesay to put São Tome ahead for the first time in the qualifier campaign.
Adjeil Neves beat two defenders before putting it on the plate for Leal to score his 9th goal in 24 matches for his country.
Through the rest of the regulation time in the first plus four additional minutes, Leonildo Soares and mates kept their shape and lead while midfielder John Bankolé Kamara was booked.
Coach John Kiester pulled out the veteran forward Musa Noah Kamara and A. Kamara before restart, introducing Alusine Pagal Koroma and Gandy Williams respectively.
The fresh entries provided the desire increase in the drive for the West Africans who hard the reward in no time.
FC Andorra forward Mustapha Bundu restored parity three minutes into the second segment, pouncing on a spilled ball from São Tomé’s keeper for the first time on the night.
Leal restored the lead just under the hour mark, completing his first brace in three qualifiers games. Eba Viergas delivered the final ball in the build up to the goal.
Though both sides rang the changes, the score remained unchanged until deep into the final 12 minutes.
Substitute Abu equalized for Sierra Leone, 11 minutes after his introduction to pave way for an exciting finale.
Though there were chances in the closing moments of the game, none of the nations found the back of the net again.
The game finished 2-2 and earned a first point for the visitors while Sierra Leone bagged their second point after three games.
Nigeria lead group A with four points like Guinea, ahead of their clash this Friday.
São Tomé host Sierra Leone in the reversed fixture counting for match day four this Sunday at the same venue as Morocco provide the platform for Africa to compete while expecting to host a befitting AFCON in 2025.
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