MONROVIA, Montserrado â€“ The 2018-19 Liberia National County Sports Meet resumed on Saturday, January 5 with the first quarterfinal games in the football and kickball categories.
The shocking results from the group stage continued in the competition with one of the football favorites, Nimba, bowing out while a Lofa kickball team that had pulled out strong performances in the group stage exited with a humiliating score.
The first day of the quarterfinals brought together Group III kickball runners-up, Margibi, against Group I winners, Sinoe. Despite finishing second in their group, Margibi showed they were a formidable force by eliminating Sinoe. In a competitive encounter, Margibi managed just a single home run after six innings. Both teams were unable to break the deadlock until Margibi managed to score in their extra inning.
Margibiâ€™s victory was followed by Nimbaâ€™s progression to the semifinals. With Lofa finishing at the top of Group III, there were huge expectations of a competitive match between the two teams. However, it all turned out to be the opposite after Nimba scored eight home runs to eliminate Lofa, which managed just a single home run from the five innings.
Nimbaâ€™s kickball team will now be hoping their quarterfinals performance continues in the semifinals when they play Margibi, which eliminated Sinoe by a narrow margin.
The first day of the quarterfinals spelled bad luck for Lofians, who watched their kickball and football teams be eliminated. Just as Lofaâ€™s kickball team failed to reach the semifinals, the football team followed with a painful exit from the tournament.
Lofa finished second in Group III and got eliminated by Group I winners, Gbarpolu. Gbarpolu proved to be a force to reckon with in this yearâ€™s competition since their shocking victory over football defending champions, Montserrado, on the opening of day of the tournament.
They made sure they reach the semifinals on Saturday following a narrow 1-0 win over neighbors, Lofa. Morris Fahnbulleh scored the matchâ€™s only goal in the 17th minute to send Gbarpolu through to the semifinals.
In the 90th minute, Lofa got the chance to get the score leveled from the penalty spot. However, they failed to make use of the opportunity, with Alieu Keita seeing his penalty saved by the crossbar.
Gbarpolu will be hoping to cross the semifinals of the tournament when they play a Margibi that eliminated Nimba. Margibi reached the semifinals following a 5-4 penalty shootout win against Nimba. The two teams failed to score a single goal in the full 90 minutes as the match moved to the spot where Margibi clinched the victory.
Isaac Dayweh missed Margibiâ€™s first shot and put his sideâ€™s hopes of advancing in doubt until Nimba missed two from their last three shots to send Margibi through to the semifinals.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley Jr.