Libya crowned CHAN 2014 champs

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pretoria - Libya has defeated Ghana 4-3 on penalties to win the CHAN 2014 tournament, after the final match played at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night ended without a goal after extra time.

The penalty shoot-out created more drama and unbelievable scenes when Libya, who scored the first three spot-kicks, nearly threw it away when Ghana came back to level matters. But Joseph Tijani sent the ball wide, which led to the Mediterranean Knights taking the CHAN title.

The match saw the Mediterranean Knights create more goal scoring opportunities – unlike in their quarterfinal match - but they failed to punish their opponents.

However, the Black Stars were also looking dangerous on the counterattack on the left flank, but they too failed to get a goal, making the first 45 minutes more balanced as the two teams went to the half-time break without a goal.

In the second half, Ghana did not waste time in putting their opponents under pressure, but they continued to squander their chances.

Substitute Yahaya Mohammed, who replaced the injured Sulley Mohammed, tried to get a goal for Ghana, but the solid defence of the North Africans kept him at bay.

The match went to extra time after it was still goalless at the end of 90 minutes.

Libya came back attacking their opponents and they should have been rewarded in the 94th minute when Abdelsalam Omar’s header missed the top corner, much to the disappointment of his technical team, who had already stood up to celebrate what could have been a great goal.

However, in the first minute of the second half of extra time, Libya was lucky when Abdul Mohammed’s weak shot - which had already left the goalkeeper stranded - went just wide off the post.

Two minutes later, the North Africans got a golden opportunity when Omar’s header, who was unmarked inside the box, was easily stopped by Adams from getting into the back of the net.

Both sides qualified for the final in identical circumstances, with Zimbabwe and Nigeria being defeated on penalties after their matches had ended goalless in their respective games after 120 minutes.

The Black Stars of Ghana came to the match as favourites following their good record, which saw them conceding only one goal in five matches in the CHAN tournament. 

Before the match, Libya had only lost twice in nine matches against the West Africans. The last time Libya played in a continental tournament final was at home in the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) against the Black Stars. 

In the 1982 AFCON final, both sides were in the same group and played the opening match, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

When the two national sides met at this year’s CHAN group stages, based in Bloemfontein, they played to a 1-1 draw.

It was Ghana who emerged victorious after winning the match 7-6 on penalties to claim their fourth championship, leaving hosts Libya disconsolate at home.

As the new CHAN champions, Libya pocketed US $750 000, while the runner-up will leave with US $400 000, while Nigeria and Zimbabwe each received US $250 000.

In an earlier match, Nigeria beat the Warriors of Zimbabwe 1-0 to settle for the third place in the 2014 CHAN tournament. 

The Super Eagles only managed to beat Zimbabwean goalkeeper Chigova in the 85th minute, with a smart header from Obiozor following some good work on the right flank.

Ghana XI: Adams, Saka, Ainooson, Tijani, Sulley, Akuffo, Opoku, Attobrah, Bansey, Anobaah, Mohammed.

Libya XI: Abdaula, Almaghasi, Elhouni, Alwani, Salama, El Trbi, Elgadi, Ghanudi, Mohamed, Ali, Abushnaf. -