Libya pulled off their African Nations Championship opening challenge against Ethiopia with a 2-0 victory at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa on Monday to take lead of Group C.
El mutasem Abushnaf gave the Mediterranean Knights a dream start when he opened the scoring early in the 4th minute after bending a sublime effort from a free kick in the Walias area into the back net.
Thereafter, Libya controlled the flow of the match, winning countless free kicks as Ethiopia’s fidgety back line made attempts to contain the massive assaults while committing nasty fouls in the process.
By the 15th minute, Libya have recorded five shots on target against naught from the opposition team, as the North Africans poured forth in a bid to cushion their lone-goal lead.
After sucking much of the pressure, Ethiopia began to find their footing by the half hour mark, cutting through the flanks to stretch the Knights’ defence at regular intervals.
Libya got some breathing space after winning a free kick on the edge of the Ethiopia box, but Fetori’s strike crashed against the Walias goalkeeper. He had to make a second attempt to gather the ball.
The Ethiopians were on top of their game near the end of the first half, but couldn’t pull level before the break.
Their best chance for goal came in the 58th minute when Manyane Abera was set up inside the Libya box and having just the goalkeeper to beat, wasted his last ditch effort over the crossbar.
Ephrem Ashamo replaced Behailu Assefa to get in the act as the Walias dominated play but producing poor finishing, with Libya gradually rising to break down the pace.
The session balanced considerably as the Knights began to cover their potholes while clearing dangerous balls far off, with much of the 16,000 attendants, who had been cheering up Ethiopia, showed signs of frustration.
With 10 minutes to fulltime, Libya put the game to bed as Abdelsalam Omar doubled their lead after connecting a long pass near Ethiopia box and beating his marker to finish his effort inside the back net.
Ethiopia, however, did their best against a more experienced and organised Libyan outfit, who now lead Group C ahead of Ghana, who defeated Congo 1-0 earlier in the day.