By KABS KANU
Lions, the killers from the East End of Freetown, made a magnificent start to the new season and sent their thousands of supporters dancing in delirium all the way back to their base as they mauled their traditional arch-rivals Mighty Blackpool 1-0 in the first round of Superclash 2019 ,at the Siaka Stevens Stadium last evening.
With a sold-out crowd of over 35, 000 watching and thousands more at home and abroad viewing live TV streaming by the SLBC and AYV , Mighty Blackpool failed to tame their biggest rivals , despite enjoying ball possession for a greater part of this sensational match that was also watched by the Chief Patron of sports, President Maada Bio, who took the kickoff and whose new government will be credited for bringing back top-flight football to Sierra Leone, after four years of oblivion due to infighting among officials of the Sierra Leone Football Association ( SLFA ) in the chaotic reign of its President, Mrs. Isha Johansen.
PRESIDENT BIO TAKES THE KICK-OFF.
With fanatics of both teams raising the temperature in the field and in the social media, the match lived up to its billing with the two sides making an explosive start, raiding each other’s defence in search of the opening goal. The early edge belonged to Mighty Blackpool, but they failed to convert their advantage into the needed goals.
THE GIGANTIC CROWD
Slowly, East End Lions got into the game and after they settled down and treated spectators to some brilliant combinations , they pulled a fast one on their deadly rivals in the 23rd minute after a splendid move that ended with Alhassan Koroma stabbing in the opener to send supporters into ecstasy.
Stunned, Mighty Blackpool fought back, but Lions defended solidly.
EAST END LIONS
It then became a pitched battle with ascendancy changing hands now and again, and with both teams missing chances , especially Blackpool , who tried to exploit gaps in the Lions defence . More goals were expected because of the tempo of the game, but despite sustained pressure from both sides, the first half ended with Lions still holding on to their slender 1-0 lead.
The second half saw a real battle of giants, keeping spectators spellbound . Blackpool could have equalized and even taken the lead but they lacked lethal finishing. Lions too missed many opportunities to extend their lead.
Tempers flared in the dying minutes when Blackpool were reduced to 10 men following a second yellow card to Ibrahim Tommy , but the referee quelled the problem and Lions saw out their narrow lead to win the first encounter of Superclash 2019.
HATS OFF TO PRESIDENT BIO AND THE SLAFA BOARD PRESIDENT, MR. EMMANUEL SAFFA ABDULAI AND OFFICIALS FOR BRINGING BACK SOCCER.