African Nations Cup co-hosts Equatorial Guinea secured themselves a reported $1 million bonus as Javier Balboa earned them victory in the
tournament's opening game.
The midfielder grabbed the only goal in the 87th minute as the National
Lightning secured the reward offered by the son of long-standing president
Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
It was no less than they deserved after having the better of the game,
particularly in a lively first half.
Libya's Walid El Khatroushi and Jamal Mohamed were both just unable to carve
out early chances while the co-hosts' first attack centred around great work by
Iban Iyanga Randy, but Ivan Bolado was kept at bay by Younes Shibani.
Balboa's weak long-range shot then almost squirmed away from keeper Samir Abod
- who had a huge let-off moments later.
Juvenal Edjogo's shot was deflected onto the post and Bolado's follow-up was
fumbled through his legs and over the line by Abod, whose blushes were spared by
an offside flag against Thierry Fidjeu.
Abod then had to snatch the ball after Ali Salama deflected Iyanga's cross
towards his own goal and Juvenal sliced wide after Shibani cut out Balboa's
Walid gave Equatorial Guinea keeper Danilo his first test early in the second
half before Fidjeu was off target with an acrobatic effort at the other end.
Libya substitute Ihab Al Busaifi warmed Danilo's palms with a fierce drive but
there was otherwise little in the way of goalmouth action - at least until Abod
dived to turn away Mohammad Doe's ferocious free-kick in the 72nd minute.
Equatorial Guinea's regular captain, Deportivo La Coruna striker Rodolfo
Bodipo, had been restricted to a substitute's role by injury and, 10 minutes
after replacing Fidjeu, damaged his Achilles tendon and gave way to Daniel
But the co-hosts snatched victory with three minutes remaining when Balboa just
beat the offside trap to race onto Ekedo's pass and lift the ball over Abod.
Libya responded and Mohamed forced a diving save from Danilo, but Amia Ekanga
then lashed a superb effort against Abod's crossbar.
Abdala Al Sherif was booked in stoppage time for diving in Equatorial Guinea's
penalty area in a desperate attempt to win a spot-kick, and an equaliser could
not be found.