Sierra Leone survived late on in Freetown to force a 1-1 draw at the Siaka Steven Stadium on Saturday in the first leg preliminary of the African Nations Championship – CHAN.
The Local-Stars were playing a tricky home tie for the first time under new home-based coach Abubakar Tostao Kamara, but they failed to make use of home advantage.
A Senegalese defender was sent off 10 minutes before the end of the first half and they have to play the rest of the encounter with a man down.
After a goalless first half, the second 45 minutes was able to produce all the goals of the day.
The visitors scored from a rebound free-kick, Sidi Bara Diop accounted for the goal in the 63rd minute.
Sierra Leone capitalised from a spot kick scored in the 85th minutes by Kemson Fofanah to save the day in front of an empty stadium.
The Senegalese are now favourites to reach the next stage of the competition when both sides meet next weekend in Dakar.
Sierra Leone or Senegal will face the winners between Guinea-Bissau and Guinea in the second round with the first leg billed to take place between 11 – 13 August, and the return leg the following weekend.
The Local Stars have never participated in the CHAN finals and the West African side will be looking to qualify for the finals in Kenya next year.
Senegal qualified for the first two CHAN finals (in 2009 and 2011). Their best finish was when they were beaten in the third-place playoff match in 2009.
Meanwhile, elsewhere Guinea have the advantage following their 3-1 victory over Guinea-Bissau today.
Follow Us On Twitter @football_sierra