By Mohamed Assed
Tripoli, 25 June:
The Libyan National Team was able to overcome their Yemeni counterparts to complete a win of three . . .[restrict]goals to one on “Prince Abdullah Al Faisal’s” pitch in their first group-game of the Arab Cup 2012 hosted this year by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The game in its entirety was lacklustre with the technical and comparative advantage over most of the game in favour of the Libyan National Team, mainly because of Libya’s star player and striker “Ahmed Saad”, who was by far the man of the match.
There was nothing special about Libya’s display against Yemen. The National Team depended on counter attacks to spell their danger against a poor Yemeni team. The Yemenis attacked the Libyan defence in the last 15 minutes of every half. However, Libya defended scrappily and relied on Ahmed Saad to lead their counter attacks.
Ahmed Saad scored the game’s first goal after deservedly winning a penalty when he was trying to sneak his way through the Yemeni defence in the 16th minute of the first half.
After the goal, Yemen tried to react by attacking Libya disorderly during the last quarter of the first half. Still, Libya defended their solitary goal in the game to end the first half with a one goal lead.
During the second half, the Libyan National Team started in resilient fashion by pressuring the Yemenis in their last quarter of the pitch. The Mediterranean knights snatched their second goal in the 52nd minute during the second half of the game through a cool right-shot finish by Ali Salama who was well placed to meet a well passed header.
Nine minutes after Libya’s second goal, Libya’s defender Hamad Al-Snoussi was sent off the pitch after receiving a red card from Jordanian referee Salem Dalgam.
Yemen took full advantage of Libya’s tactical handicap, and reduced the gap to only one goal when Al-Sasi scored Yemen’s first goal of the match in the 68th minute. The player sent in a furious shot that went smashing into the left side of Libya’s goalkeeper.
One minute before the referee’s final whistle of the game, Ahmed Saad was back on fire again for the Libyans as he scored his second goal of the game and Libya’s third to end the game on a rather positive note for the Libyan National Team despite a poor display. Libya stand second of group B with 3 points, on par with Morocco, but still behind the men of Eric Gerets (Morocco’s coach) who lead the group due to their goal advantage over Libya as the Moroccans won their first game against Bahrain 4-0.
Libya’s next match of the tournament will be against a much tougher team. The Mediterranean Knight will play Morocco next Tuesday as both teams seek to secure an early qualification to the semi-finals.
In case Libya loses to Morocco, their chances to qualify would be seriously jeopardised, especially if Bahrain wins against Yemen on the same day. Libya, then, will have to lock horns in a very tough encounter against the Bahrainis in their last match of Group B, with only a victory synonymous of securing a qualification to the semi-finals.
Therefore, Libya’s next game against the Atlas Lions is very critical. A result other than a victory or at least a draw would put the Libyans in a di?fficult position.