Rwanda faced a group stage exit from the on-going tournment after losing 0-1 to Libya in the injury-time of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) Group C final game played on Tuesday night at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier, Morocco.
A lone goal from Libya’s substitute striker Elmutasem Abushnaf in the 92nd minute denied a quarter final slot for Rwanda.
The win sees the Mediterranean Knights qualify for the quarter-finals as second-placed in Group C with six points while Rwanda are third with four points in three matches.
Rwanda went into the game needing a draw to realize their chance of sealing a slot in the last eight but Antoine Hey’s youth side failed to hold onto their concentration as Libya scored in the dying minutes of the game to secure their deserved ticket to the quarterfinal round.
Despite Rwanda dominating possession in the early stages of the game, they could not create clear-cut chances.
As the game progressed, Libya took control of the game, but they also failed to convert their chances.
Libya and Rwanda were locked at 0-0 during the half-time break.
The second-half was dominated by Libya and Rwanda did most of the defending as looking for a draw until the additional time when their concentration to gift Abushnaf with a clear effort which went into the roof of the net, sending the Libyans in the fully-packed stadium in jubilations, disappointingly denying Rwanda passage into the last eight.
Libya will travel south to Agadir and prepare for a last-eight showdown Sunday against the Group D winners, currently Congo Brazzaville while Nigeria will return to Tanger to face Group D runners-up, a position Angola occupy ahead of a Wednesday clash with Congo.
In Agadir, Nigeria booked their place in the knockout stages following a 3-1 win over Equatorial Guinea.
The Super Eagles advanced into the quarterfinal stage as Group C winners with Libya to join the West African’s in the last eight.
Nigeria’s progression, though, was in doubt at the halfway mark in Agadir as 17-year-old Nsi Eyama Salvador’s 40th-minute header handed Equatorial Guinea a narrow lead at the break.
Nzalang Nacional, though, were unable to hold onto their advantage as the Super Eagles struck home on three occasions in the second stanza.
Anthony Okpotu leveled matters for the Super Eagles in the 59th minute with a powerful header from close range following a sustained spell of pressure.
Ekundayo Ojo duly handed Nigeria the lead in the 69th minute of the match with a thunderous strike from range that left the Equatorial Guinea shot-stopper with no chance.
Rabiu Ali then made sure of all three points and progression for Nigeria as he converted from the spot in the 83rd minute to condemn their opponents to a third straight defeat.
Action on Wednesday with Group D final matches, with Congo Brazzaville taking on Angola in Agadir while Cameroon will be up against Burkina Faso in Tanger.
2018 CHAN Tournament
Group C, Tuesday
Rwanda 0-1 Libya
Nigeria 3-1 Equatorial Guinea
Group D, Wednesday
Congo vs Angola
Cameroon vs Burkina Faso