Bloemfontein – A goal in either half vaulted Libya to a 2-0 victory over Ethiopia in an African Nations Championship (Chan) Group C match played in Bloemfontein on Monday night.
Libya struck three minutes into the game, with an Elmutasem Abushnaf goal, before Abdel Salam Omar wrapped up matters seven minutes from time to grab all three points on offer against Ethiopia.
Played at the Free State Stadium, the Ethiopian fans turned out in their thousands, as did the Bloemfontein Celtic supporters, making for a colourful and vibrant affair in the stands.
The first half was dominated by the Libyans, the north Africans using their big physiques to keep their opponents under pressure, the Ethiopians finding few answers to the aggressive side they found themselves up against.
While the skilful east African team had more possession in the first half, very little of it was close enough to the Libyan goal to cause any problems.
Instead it was the Ethiopian defence that was under pressure from the start, the Mediterranean Knights going in front after just three minutes. Abushnaf out-muscled his marker, before scoring with a screamer of a shot from what seemed like a near-impossible angle out on the right.
Ten minutes later and Abushnaf should have had his second goal, but after some wonderful inter-play down the left flank left the Ethiopia defence wide open, the marksman was unable to keep his shot from 25-yards under the bar.
There was another good chance for Libya on 20 minutes, but Ahmed El Trbi's headed effort was weak and did not trouble Jemal Bushra in goal.
The east Africans were however able to get in an effort on goal eight minutes after the restart, following good build-up play, Asrat Gobena fired a 30-yard curler wide of goal.
Libya swiftly replied with a fantastic run down the left wing from Motasem Sabbou, who set up Mohamed Elgadi, but the midfielder skewed his 25-yard drive wide of the target.
The game remained tight, the result up for grabs, until Omar netted Libya's second, managing to scramble possession from a cross in the box before firing home from 12-yards out. – Sapa