Wednesday Jun 01, 2022. 21:11
Libya secured a 1-0 win over Botswana in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification Group J match at the Martyrs of February Stadium in Benghazi on Wednesday evening.
As a result, the Mediterranean Knights started their Group J campaign with a hard-fought victory at home and they will now go head to head with Equatorial Guinea away on Monday.
While Botswana suffered a narrow defeat on the road and they are scheduled to go head to head with Tunisia on Sunday at home in another Group J game.
The Mediterranean Knights and the Zebras launched attacks from the start with neither side happy to sit back and invite pressure in the opening stages of the encounter.
However, Botswana goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko and his counterpart Muad Allafi remained largely untroubled as both sides were giving away possession cheaply in the final third.
Phoko got busy towards the end of the first half as he was forced to come out and snatch Sanad Al Warfali’s long ball, before diving to his right to gather Hamdou Elhouni’s dangerous curling cross and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
The Mediterranean Knights upped the tempo after the restart and they were awarded a penalty after Thato Kebue was adjudged to have fouled Elhouni inside the visitors’ box.
Phoko dived to his right to deny Al Warfali from the spot-kick, but Saleh Al Taher scored from the rebound to make it 1-0 to Libya in the 54th minute much to the delight of the fans inside the stadium.
It was nearly 2-0 to Libya when Omar Al Khoja’s rasping shot hit the crossbar with Phoko well-beaten and at the other end, Tumisang Orebonye fired straight into Allafi’s hands.
The momentum was with the Zebras in the latter stages of the game, but long-range shots from substitutes Thero Setsile, Thatayaone Kgamayane and Mpho Kgaswane were saved by the alert Allafi.
The Al-Ittihad shot-stopper’s late saves ensured that the game needed a 1-0 win in favour of Libya as the North African side maintained their unbeaten record against Botswana.
Libya 1 (Al Taher 54′)
Libya: Allafi, Fakroun, Eltrbi, Al Warfali, Rajab, Elhouni, El-Mounir, Al Khoja (Jaddour 79′), Al Taher (Eisay 90’+1), Soulah, Touhami (Al Obaidi 80′).
Botswana: Phoko, Kebue, Johnson, Gaolaolwe, Ditlhokwe, Ditsele, Seakanyeng (Setsile 63′), Cooper, Orebonye, Mabaya (Kgaswane 63′), Sesinyi (Kgamanyane 63′).