Guinea snatch late win
Javier Balboa broke Libyan hearts with his 87th minute strike to seal a late 1-0 win at the Estadio de Bata for Equatorial Guinea, who fought back well following a controversially disallowed first half goal.
The match got off to a nervy start as each team looked a bit tense in the opening stages, but in the 17th minute controversy struck as Equatorial Guinea thought they had taken the lead.
The hosts saw Juvenal Owono’s shot rebound off the post, Ivan Bolado took a shot from the rebound and it beat the goalkeeper, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The disallowed goal certainly seemed to spring the game and the hosts into life as the Nzalang Nacional went out on the attack.
On 26 minutes, a corner for Equatorial Guinea found the head of Fousseny Kamissoko at the far post but he sent his effort wide of the target.
Minutes after the half hour mark, Javier Balboa struck a low shot that beat Samir Aboud but it went just wide of the far post.
Five minutes after the restart the hosts were awarded a free-kick. Owono crossed from the free kick but it went straight into the arms of Aboud; a final poaching touch was all that was needed for the home side to take the lead.
Seventy-four minutes in Aboud once again kept Libya in the game as he did well to keep out a Lawrence Doe free-kick, while on the other end Danilo had to come off his line to intercept an Ihab pass.
The 39-year-old Libyan shot-stopper was once again tested when he rose to palm away a Iyanga cross-come-shot over the bar.
But as the game neared the fulltime whistle it was the hosts that set the stadium alight, as Balboa broke the offside trap to fire the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop the Libyans as they went in search of the equaliser. The Mediterranean Knights went close to scoring when Danilo pulled off a crucial save, but it wasn’t over as Balboa thought he scored again but he hit the woodwork from a long range screamer.
In the final minute of added time, Al Sherif was booked for diving in the box as the game ended in high spirits for the co-hosts of the tournament.