Libya put on an impressive performance to beat Ethiopia 2-0 in the second of the double header matches played on Monday 13th January on opening day of group C of Orange African Nations Championship, South Africa 2014. The Mediterranean Knights struck early from a powerful shot from Elmutasem Abushnaf after just 4 minutes of play and then confirmed victory with a second towards the end of the game through substitute Abdelsalam Omar.
Libya stormed out of the blocks with the youngest side in the tournament, running at the Ethiopians and causing problems on the flanks. In contrast the Ethiopians took long to get into their stride and struggled to organise themselves at the back. Ethiopian captain Degu Gebreyes stumbled as he raced for the ball with striker Abushnaf and that was all the Libyan needed to surge into the box and rifle a from the right side the whistled past goalkeeper Jemal Bushra and silence the partisan Ethiopian fans so conspicuous by the colours in the stands.
The goal spurred the Libyans on and they took control of the midfield with Moaied Algritly captain Ali Salama, Faisal Ali Saleh and Mohamed Ghanudi driving the charge on Ethiopian goal. The pressure unsettled the Ethiopians who committed unforced errors among them an intended back pass to keeper Jemal that almost ended-up an own goal. Midway through the first half the Walyas awoke from their slumber and begun to string some short passes and bring into play their strikers, Omod Omod and Dawit Demessie. On 31st minute Ethiopia worked out a move but Adane Girma’s shot was blocked for a corner. The Ethiopian fans had found their voice. Urged by this recovery, Ethiopia ventured more into Libyan penalty area but a combination of indecision and poor shooting kept the score line at 1-0. Asrat Gobena had the best of chances and right on the stroke of half time should have equalised when shot weakly at Mohamed Abdaula from mere meters out. Gobena managed to get the rebound and pick up Omod with a pass only to see the latter miscue his short from inside the box and Demessie following up was thwarted by the goal minder.
The Libyans got back for second and seemed to have decelerate and put more men behind the ball and Ethiopians accepted the invitation to attack. For all their increased possession in the second half Ethiopians remained weak-footed in the final third and spurned chances galore as they grew impatient in searching for the equaliser. The best chance for Ethiopia fell to 22 year old striker Manaye Abera on 58th minute. The second half substitute striker drove into the box from the right flank leaving his marker behind him but with the keeper off his line, the Ethiopia Defence FC side player sent his short over the bar much to the disbelief of all Ethiopians.
The tale of near chances continued for Ethiopia and the games pattern firmly set as Libya sat back relying on counter-attack football. On 82nd minute Libya grabbed the second goal on a counter attack. The ball was delivered from the right and only substitute Omar was in the box but after the cross eluded the first defender he controlled it under the attention of his Ethiopian marker before shooting and it went in off Jemal’s attempted save. The result leaves Libya on top of Group C with three points, same as Ghana in second while Congo and Ethiopia occupy the next places in that order and still to pick up points. Action in the third Orange African Nations Championship turns to Group D in Polokwane on Tuesday 14 January with DR Congo against Mauritania to be followed by Gabon versus Burundi.
Confederation of African Football News
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