Home » AFCON, International, Latest » Match Report: Equatorial Guinea 1 Libya 0

Equatorial Guinea made a dramatic and rich debut in the Africa Cup of Nations with a surprise 1-0 win against Libya in the tournament’s opening game.

Equatorial Guinea qualified for the first time only by dint of being the co-hosts with Gabon, but they gave Africa’s showpiece event a terrific start, despite police having to use tear gas when some of the thousands of fans at the game overcame security at Bata Stadium and attempted to force their way in.

In a game that they deserved to win, Equatorial Guinea threatened an upset throughout and delivered when Javier Balboa scored after racing on to a through-ball and slotting past the Libya goalkeeper, Samir Aboud, into the top corner in the 87th minute.

“We played a good game. We had trained so little time, but the tactical dedication of our players was great,” the Equatorial Guinea coach, Gilson Paulo, said.

Paulo had only a few weeks to get to know his squad after replacing his predecessor, Henri Michel, who resigned just before the tournament.

This week, the team were promised a $1m (£645,000) bonus from the son of the country’s president if the team won the match. “It’s the famous $1m,” the midfielder Juvenal Edjogo-Owono said. “For us the money is not very important, the most important thing is to start the competition with a win. Now we will see the future more optimistically.”

Edjogo-Owono missed a chance in the first half when his deflected shot rebounded off a post. Iván Bolado put the rebound into the net, but the effort was disallowed for offside.

Despite their injured captain Rodolfo Bodipo managing only a 15-minute substitute role, Equatorial Guinea belied their billing as the tournament’s lowest-ranked team by matching Libya and creating opportunities.

Libya controlled possession early on, but unexpectedly, the co-hosts took control, forcing Aboud into some nervous fumbles.

Libya’s players looked sluggish and hesitant, overawed, perhaps, by the expectations of a nation hoping to cap a year that included the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi with sporting success at the Cup of Nations.

The Libya coach, Marcos Paquetá, congratulated Equatorial Guinea.”The conditions were very difficult, facing the Equatorial Guinea team at home,” he said. “We started the game well, we kept the ball well, but the team started after that to get a bit nervous so we missed easy passes and lost control.”

Source: Guardian

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