By Mohamed Assed.
Tripoli, 19 July:
Even at youth level, the Libyan football team . . .[restrict]continues its upward surge. The Junior Mediterranean Knights claimed the third spot of the Under-20 Arab Nations Cup held this year in Jordan, beating Algeria 4-0 on Tuesday at Amman’s King Abdullah II stadium.
All four goals of the game were scored in the second half. Mohammed Al-Reechy broke the deadlock in the 54th minute, Ibrahim Agela added the second and third goals in the 64th and 71st minutes respectively and Abdussalam Faraj concluded the goal fest when he added the fourth in the 76th minute.
The fact that both teams missed on the opportunity to qualify for the final game somewhat tapered their ambitions. As a result the game was not entertaining — to say the least. However, there was the possibility of clinching some silverware, as Algeria started with an evident determination to open the score early on. Nevertheless, Libya quickly undid the Algerian offenses and controlled most phases of the game. Notwithstanding, the Libyan attack did not succeed in posing any significant threat on Algeria’s defense during the first half of the game.
During the first half, the Algerian football team relied on the movements and passes of Benkhmasiya Mohamed, Saighy Abdurrahman and Bouliryma Hussam to build the play in the middle and to spray forward passes and through balls to the strikers, Khalid Tawfiq and Mansoury Ahmed, who tried powerlessly to threaten Libya’s goalkeeper, Hamza Al-Burjy.
On the other hand, the Junior Mediterranean Knights were better positioned on the field, as they relied on midfield players, Ezzedine Al-Younsy, Mohamed Al-Gazzany, Maher Jomaa and Hassan Areby to control the flow of the game and force Libya’s rhythm of play on the Algerians. The midfielders fed the Libyan attack with numerous through passes, but Al-Reechy, Al-Gretly and Ageila failed to convert the chances into goals. The first half ended in a scoreless draw.
During the second half, the Libyan football team continued to pressure the Algerians and was clearly the better team on the field. Libya managed to open the score in the 54th minute of the game when Ahmed Al-Basheer sent in a nice centered ball to Mohammed Al-Reechy who managed to direct a delightful left-shot that went into the back of the Algerian goalkeeper’s net. The Libyans succeeded in adding the second goal in the 64th minute through Libya’s excellent striker during the game, Ibrahim Agela, who ridiculed the Algerian defense with his remarkable attacking and dribbling skills. Agela added Libya’s third goal of the game in the 71st minute when he successfully followed a dropped ball behind the back of the Algerian defense to send in a clinical lob over the goalkeeper. Abdussalam Faraj settled the goal-mania when he added the fourth and last goal for Libya in the 76th minute.
With this victory, Libyan football proves once again that it is ready for glory and ready to compete with Africa’s elite football nations. All it needs now is a serious amount of encouragement, empowerment, and embracement from the next government.