19 January 2018

Nigeria/Libya: Home-Based Eagles Seek Redemption Against Formidable Libya

Photo: Pixabay
(file photo).

After a wasteful night which saw Home-based Eagles settle for a goalless score-line in the opening match against Rwanda at the ongoing 5th African Nations Championships (CHAN) in Morocco, Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, and his wards must spare nothing today but outright victory when they face off with group leader, Libya, in Nigeria's second game at 5.30pm this evening at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier.

Eagles are aware that anything short of victory against Muammar Gaddafi's men will mean early departure from Morocco and that will amount to a big dent on Nigeria's image in the continent.

The Mediterranean Knights began the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea in Tangier on Monday and as a result, they now sit at the top of the Group C on three points and a draw result against Nigeria will still leave them in a comfortable position going into the last group match next week.

Saleh Al Taher, who scored a brace against Equatorial Guinea, is the danger man for the Mediterranean Knights and he will be keen to inspire his side to another victory.

Libya coach, Omar El Maryami, is upbeat about the 2014 CHAN champions' second victory tonight.

"The same focus we had preparing for Equatorial Guinea is what we will use for our next two opponents (Nigeria and Rwanda) because they are good sides," Al-Maryami told the media shortly after their first match.

"Also, we have worked on sustaining pressure and not withdraw at some point like we did on Monday (against Equatorial Guinea)," he explained.

His Nigerian opposite number, Salisu Yusuf, yesterday urged Eagles teeming supporters to stand behind his players as they hope to banish the ghost of lack-lustre performance in the opening match which saw his players hit the wood work on a number of occasions.

"We are expecting another tough game because the Libyans did not only win their opening match, but played very well and will be more confident ahead of our match. However, with more effort from my strikers and by God's grace, we should get a positive result," he stated yesterday ahead of the crucial match today.

Nigerians can only hope that Rabiu Ali, who wasted several chances on Monday will live up to expectation tonight against the Magreb opposition.

Yesterday, Zambia took one step into the knock out phase following their second consecutive win in the competition. The Copper Bullets defeated Côte d' Ivoire 2-0 to condemn the Elephants to early exit from the competition. Cote d'Ivoire had similarly lost their opening group match defeat to Namibia on Sunday.

Augustine Mulenga scored a goal in each half at the Marrakech Stadium to see the Chipolopolo entrench themselves at the top of the pool on six points, while the Elephants sink to the foot of the table after successive losses.

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