Libya are through to the Chan final after beating Zimbabwe 5-4 in a dramatic penalty shootout at the Free State Stadium in South Africa on Wednesday
It had to take another penalty shootout for Libya to march on in this Chan tournament after they dismissed Zimbabwe to book a final place.
In a drab encounter that ended goalless after extra time, Libya powered to a 5-4 penalty shootout win, after having got to the semi-finals in similar fashion by dumping out Gabon through penalties.
For all his spirited saves, Zimbabwe’s giant goalkeeper George Chigova ended up a loser as his teammates Simba Sithole of Dynamos, Peter Moyo and Ali Sadiki could not convert in the sudden-death of the lottery.
It was a fourth draw in regulation time for the Libya Mediterranean Knights, but at the end of the day it counted to carry them into Saturday’s final as they seek a first continental title.
For Zimbabwe, a dream ended for a side largely tipped to storm into the final on the backdrop of convincing displays in the previous two matches before their demise.
The Warriors’ belief could be sensed as Sadiki’s shot rose just over the bar seven minutes into the match.
But Libya responded through Mohamed Ghanudi who headed narrowly high from an Ahmed Al Maghasi cross six minutes later.
It was a dull first half where no meaningful chances were then created by either side and the match already pointed toward a draw.
No team could penetrate the other thanks to their defences, especially Zimbabwe’s backline who afforded Chigova an off day as he was never invited to thwart any danger.
Elmedhi Elhouni had a clear way to shoot, but took long to control the ball before being dispossessed by Zimbabwe captain Partson Jaure on 26 minutes.
Spearheading Zimbabwe’s attack as a lone striker, Simba Sithole dived to head wide a Milton cross on 33 minutes.
Peter Moyo arrived just a shade late to meet Sithole’s cross from the left three minutes before the breather. The Warriors returned for the second half rejuvenated but fizzled out midway through the second stanza.
Sadiki had a low freekick saved by Libya goalkeeper Mohamed Abduala four minutes after the breather before the latter was again called into action to collect a Sithole cross before it reached an advancing Donald Ngoma.
Substitute Simbarashe Sithole of Harare giants Dynamos had a disallowed goal for offside in the 76 minute. Libya rarely troubled the Warriors and Moyo could have grabbed a last minute winner when he dribbled long with an option of finding Mahachi, but his late pass fell on a marked Ngoma who was dispossessed.
But the nearest chance of the match came in extra time when Libyan forward Elmutasem Abushnaf was faced with only Chigova to beat but his effort was deflected by the goalkeeper’s legs at an acute angle.
Zimbabwe pressed hard in the dying match of extra time where they were the better side, but nothing came out of the effort forcing penalties to decide the finalist.