* Libya too strong for Equatorial Guinea

Duro Ikhazuagbe
Home-based Eagles began their African Nations Championship (CHAN) campaign in Tangier, Morocco sluggishly last night sharing points with Rwanda in a 1-1 game Nigeria had the chance to take the driver’s seat of Group C.

With Libya’s commanding 3-0 performance against Equatorial Guinea in the Group C opening game earlier in the day, Salisu Yusuf and his wards would need to up their ante as they confront the men from Muammar Gaddafi’s country on Friday in a game that may decide Nigeria’s fortunes at this edition of CHAN.
It remains a mystery how Eagles fluffed the early begging chances in the game they dominated, created chances yet failed to find the back of the net.

It was not a vintage display by the Home-based Eagles. Shooting Stars’ youngster, Sunday Faleye, a bright spark in the Eagles attack, got the first chance after five minutes, but his header off a cross by Emeka Ogbugh bounced off the crossbar.
In the 20th minute, Faleye again had the chance to put the Eagles ahead, but the diving Rwanda goalkeeper Eric Ndayishimiye somehow blocked his chipped shot from right inside the box.

Two minutes later, it was the turn of Lobi Stars’ Anthony Okpotu to head wide to signal a bad omen that may happen in the game.
If Okpotu can be forgiven, the case of Kano Pillars’ veteran Rabiu Ali deep into the first half was unforgivable. Twice Ali had the chance to get Nigeria in front he bungled the opportunities. With Rwanda keeper sprawling on the turf Ali opted to balloon high above the crossbar in the 40th minute.
And then two minutes later, his shot from distance hit the cross bar with the goalkeeper caught out.

On return from the half time break, the Amavubi grew in confidence since the hiding they were expecting to get from Eagles failed to happen in the first stanza.
Rwanda created a few chances with Nigeria goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa having to do more but his Rwandese counterpart remained the busier of the two shot stoppers as the Eagles pressed for a winner.

Nigeria will now face Libya Friday evening at the same venue in continuation of the tournament.
Earlier in the opening game of the group, Taher Saeid’s brace and a goal from Zakaria Alharash handed Libya a deserved 3-0 win over Equatorial Guinea for them to take the top spot of the pairing.

Equatorial Guinea’s Oscar Eyama was called to make a fine save in the seventh minute when he collected a header from the near post.
A minute later, the Nzalang Nacional fought back and Pedro Asu failed to control his effort with only goalkeeper Abdalla Nashnush to beat.

Libya scored in the 11th minute when Saeid pounced on a cross from the left flank, making it 1-0 for the Mediterranean Knights.
Taher would complete his brace six minutes later with a free header in the box as he converted a delivery from the right with ease to beat Eyama.

The Central Africans tried to fight back when Monsuy Angong saw his well-struck effort sailing wide over the cross bar in the 22nd minute.
Both camps struggled for dominance beyond the half-hour mark as Equatorial Guinea rectified their errors at the back.

Coach Omar El-Maryami’s men went to the tunnel leading 2-0 with their keeper Nashnush not bothered in the opening 45 minutes.
Libya continued their dominance in the final third in the second half as they probed for a third goal.

After the hour mark, Eyama was kept busy by the Libyans, but he was stable as he collected most of the balls into his penalty area.
Despite their resilience, the Nzalang Nacional opened at the back in the last three minutes as Libya scored the third goal, allowing Zakaria Alharash to easily slot a cross from the left wing.

STANDINGS
GROUP A
TEAM P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Morocco 1 1 0 0 4 0 4 3
Sudan 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
Guinea 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
Mauritania 1 0 0 1 0 4 -4 0

GROUP B
TEAM P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Zambia 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 3
Namibia 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
Coted’Ivoire 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
Uganda 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

GROUP C
TEAM P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Libya 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 3
Nigeria 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Rwanda 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
E’Guinea 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0

GROUP D
TEAM P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Angola 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B’Faso 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cameroon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Congo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0