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Gabon keep faint WCQ hopes alive with home win against Libya

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty kick conversion helped Gabon to a 1-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory over Libya, moving the Panthers into second place in Group F on Friday. The win moves Gabon to seven points, and now they will need Angola to defeat Egypt later in the day to keep their World Cup qualifying hopes alive.

The situation was win or be eliminated for both teams, with Libya’s failure to earn a point in their doubleheader against Egypt earlier in the campaign leaving them on the outside looking in along with Gabon. Both teams showed initiative in the opening exchanges but a stalemate ensued until halftime. The best opportunity for either team came in the 23rd minute when Aubameyang collected a pass and was given far too much room to turn and run towards the Libyan goal, but the Arsenal hitman fired low and wide of the goal.

Soon after the halftime break, the decisive moment in the match arrived. In the 52nd minute, a corner kick for Gabon landed in the penalty box and a scramble ensued. Halftime substitute Mario Lemina was first to the loose ball and got a touch before being knocked over by Dura Naji Mohammed, causing the referee to point to the spot. Aubameyang took a relaxed stride up to the ball before sending his spot kick low and down the middle as Libya keeper Muaid Allafi fell for the striker’s head faint, diving to the right as the ball went in.

Action picked up a bit in the immediate aftermath of Aubameyang’s goal, but both teams were limited to half chances and Gabon concentrated on fortifying their defense to hold onto the lead. 23-year-old Gabon keeper Jean-Noël Amonome made a good case for being the goalkeeper of the future as the Panthers held on for the clean sheet.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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