Determine Girls of Liberia put up a good display to hold defending champions AS Mandé 1-1 in their opening match of the WAFU A TotalEnergies CAF Women's Champions League qualifier on Wednesday.
A 90th minute strike by Fatoumata Doumbia prevented the home side from pulling a shock victory over the Malian club in Monrovia in the West African Football Union (Wafu) Zone A match.
The defending champions responded seven minutes after Kantie Sayee had given Determine Girls the lead after taking advantage of a defensive mix-up.
The Liberians could have won the match as they looked the hungrier side from the start of the game by taking the match to the defending champions.
The best chance of the first-half fell to Determine Girls in the 40th minute of play when striker Sayee broke free from the right and outwitted her two markers.
Courageous Malian goalkeeper Sadio Sow raced out of the goal to slow the pace of the striker allowing her defenders to clear the danger.
The Liberian continued with their dominance after the break and the best chance fell to Bountou Sylla, who won best player of the match award, sparked a quick counter attack but the goalkeeper of AS Mande was alert after he defenders were beaten.
Sayee finally broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute when after a confusion between two Malian defenders allowed her to slot into an empty net.
The Determine Girls thought they had done the hardest part but with just seconds remaining when Doumbia took the ball at the edge of the box she unleashed a piledriver which the Liberia goalkeeper could not respond to.
Bountou Sylla, Woman of the Match: “I am very happy with the choice made on my person but I have to say congratulations to all my teammates, we play football, one person can not do anything. So more than an individual reward, it's a title for the whole team. Regarding the competition, we will give everything to get a win in the next match.
Robert Lartey, Coach of Determine Girls: “We are disappointed with the result of the match given the course of the game. We had the game in our hands until the last moment but the opponent managed to get back into the game. It's football, we'll take this result and go to prepare for what's next. We are still in the race for the title and the victory. Friday we will have the opportunity to see our next opponent play (US Parcelles from Senegal) and that will allow us to prepare our game plan well.
Moustapha Laico Traoré, coach of AS Mandé: “Getting a draw against an opponent playing at home in the final moments of the game - that's not a bad thing. We saw a beautiful Liberian team different from the one that played last year. We are obliged to win our next match to hope to qualify. The goal remains the same - qualifying for the final tournament and everything will be implemented in this direction.