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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying: Equatorial Guinea draw Libya in Benghazi

A young Libya national team fought back at home from a one-goal deficit to draw 1-1 against Equatorial Guinea at the Benina Martyrs Stadium in Benghazi as the final matchday of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying got underway Wednesday. Defender José Elo gave Nzalang Nacional the lead after the hour mark but Hussein Taqtaq leveled late with a header for his first national team goal. Equatorial Guinea have a three-point lead at the top of Group J while Libya were already eliminated from contention to qualify before the match.

The lack of experience on both sides and lack of spectators led to a match with little urgency from both teams. Libya, composed almost entirely of domestic-based players, struggled to make an impression and the visitors showed little attacking ambition. Libya attacker Abdulmuyassir Boushibah came the closest to scoring but shot wide in the 13th minute after getting on the end of a cross.

The match sparked to life after the hour mark when the visitors snatched the lead. A short corner kick came to Equatorial Guinea captain Josete Miranda and he found Elo with a cross whose volley snuck just past Libya goalkeeper Ayman Al-Tihar into the goal.

The Libyan team increased their efforts and after missing a couple of opportunities they equalized in the 80th minute. Poor marking by the Equatoguinean defense allowed Taqtaq to meet a Nouraldeen Al-Qulaib corner kick service at the near post with a powerful header that flew by goalkeeper Jesús Owono to leave the teams sharing the spoils.

Highlights from Wednesday’s only qualifying match are below.