17 C
New York
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Impact substitutions make all the difference as the Mambas of Mozambique bite Libya, earn first ever CHAN victory

Mozambique made history in Group A at the 2022 African Nations Championship on Tuesday, scoring three goals in the final twenty minutes for a 3-2 comeback victory over Libya for their first ever CHAN victory. All three goals were scored by substitutes with Melque Melito scoring the leveler and assisting the third goal for Pachoio Lau King after a header from Nené put the Mambas in the lead. Mozambique are in good position to advance to the knockout stages with four points while a stunned Libya team will be eliminated if hosts Algeria defeat Ethiopia later on.

Libya were substantial favorites heading into the match and looked more capable in the first half but appeared to lack a bit of urgency against a Mozambique side that played with little to lose. Libyan left winger Mohamed El Monir found plenty of room in the early stages and created the opener for the Mediterranean Knights in the 23rd minute when his dangerous low cross was redirected by Mambas center back Chico into his own goal.

The Mambas did not put their heads down and came close to equalizing on two occasions before halftime through forward Isac Carvalho. The Costa do Sol player got free to collect a pass at the edge of the Libyan penalty area where his curled effort drew a save from goalkeeper Muad Allafi. Allafi was soon called to action again, getting down at his near post to deny another shot from Isac.

Mozambique coach Chiquinho Conde took decisive action ten minutes into the second half and made a triple substitution that changed the match. Melque and Lau King were among the changes and as Libya became more content with less urgency the stage was set for a Mambas comeback. In the 74th minute Melque collected a lofted pass on the left wing from fellow substitute Dário and had plenty of room to drive inside for a low shot that took a slight deflection on its way past a stunned Allafi.

The momentum was all of Mozambique’s side from then on and an 80th minute corner kick from Nelson Divrassone picked out yet another substitute, Nené, for a powerful header beyond the reach of Allafi. A demoralized Libya let their guard down again four minutes later as Melque drove down the left wing and crossed low for an open Lau King to finish first time. Libya got one back in the third minute of stoppage time courtesy of an awful giveaway by Mozambique goalkeeper Víctor Guambe, allowing forward Anis Saltou to finish under the scrambling keeper.

Highlights of the match are below.