Sierra Leone’s national team fell just short of advancing to the next stage of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Sunday, falling to Liberia 3-2 on aggregate after a crucial missed kick in stoppage time.
A group of their fans, though, didn’t handle the loss well — and took things way too far in the hours after the match.
Fans attacked the home of team captain Umaru Bangura — who missed the penalty kick — with stones, badly damaging the windows and doors, according to the BBC. They also attacked Red Cross staff members outside of the stadium, throwing stones at their ambulance and injuring four volunteers for helping Bangura escape a group of angry fans.
Bangura is still in hiding, “holed-up” in his bedroom at his home in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
“[It was] one of the worst days of my life,” Bangura said Monday, via the BBC. “I can’t even go outside because I didn’t expect this kind of hostility toward me.
“I did my job by stepping up as the captain to take the spot kick. I am really disappointed. But at the same time I wish to say sorry [and] beg for their forgiveness.”
Sierra Leone was trailing 3-2 on aggregate in stoppage time on Sunday when Liberia’s goalie — 18-year-old Ashley Williams — made the save. Had Bangura’s kick gone in, Sierra Leone would have advanced to the next stage of qualifying on away goals.
18-year-old Ashley Williams saving Umaru Bangura's (team captain) penalty in the 95th minute to send Liberia through to the next round is the best form of payback after a group of Sierra Leone fans attacked the Liberian squad in training a day before. pic.twitter.com/YPqK8Vhw96 #WCQ
— Alecs Stam (@AlecsStam) September 8, 2019
Instead, Liberia will move on to the next stage of qualifying for the World Cup — which is set to be held in Qatar in November 2022.
“I was really disappointed with the Sierra Leoneans,” Sierra Leone sports minister Ibrahim Nyelenkeh said, via the BBC. “Some disgruntled hoodlums went to [Bangura’s] house and pelted stones at it. It’s not good for the game. He is our captain, football is a game of chance.
“[Hooliganism] is becoming unprecedented. I think measures should be put in place to combat it.”
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