With a performance full of gutsy on a rain-soaked pitch that made play heavy and extremely difficult, Libya put up a real fight for their lives to come out with a 2-2 draw against in-form Zambia in this Group A match played in Bata last night.
Both teams showed fighting spirit which really kept the fans entertained through out the match.
Needing nothing short of victory to get back into the competition after an opening loss to the co-hosts Equatorial Guinea last Saturday, Libya did what was expected of them, drawing first blood in the fifth minute through double scorer Ahmed Saad Osman.
The Chipolopolo regrouped and 25 minutes later hit back through their man-of-the-moment Emmanuel Mayuka, brilliantly finishing off a Rainford Kalaba cross with a first time strike, placing the shot beyond the reach of Samir Abod.
From the break, it took Libya only two minutes before getting back ahead, when substitute Ihab Albusaifi crossed from the right for Osman to cotnrol neatly, before rounding up Kennedy Mweene. It was 2-1 to Libya.
But the Zambians are fighters, and they demonstrated this when Mayuka turned provider,skillfully passing on the ball to Christopher Katongo who made it 2-2 for the Zambians.
Despite frantic efforts from both teams, and particularly a last gasp attempt by Zambia's Mayuka, the match ended 2-2.
The share of spoils gives each team a point, and Zambia now sit on four points, and Libya on a single point.
There is no doubt that the conditions never suited the Zambians who thrive on attacking football. It is understandble that coach Herve Renard was upset at the match officials for allowing the match to go ahead.
"I'm very disappointed that the ref allowed the game to start.
"Because it's unbelievable to play on a pitch like this.It was kick and rush this afternoon, not football," bemoaned Renard.
Yet Renard will be pleased with how his players applied themselves to survive on such appalling playing conditions.