Soccer News of Thursday, 16 January 2014
The Black Stars of Ghana and The Mediterranean Knights of Libya both won their opening matches on Monday and a win for either side on Friday, January 17 will put the victor within touching distance of a quarter-final berth.
Free State Stadium in Mangaung is the venue for the group C top of the table clash pitting Libya against Ghana.
While Ghana coach Maxwell Konadu was happy to pick up three points from a 1-0 win over Congo, he admitted his charges had not exactly impressed or played well. On the other hand, Javier Clemente in-charge of Libya was extremely pleased with his side’s display which secured a 2-0 victory over Ethiopia.
The contrast couldn’t be more glaring going into the clash between the sides. Ahead of the encounter Spaniard, Clemente said that Libya will take the same attitude but different approach into the game against Ghana. “The approach we will use on Friday is based on how we want play against Ghana, and they are different in their play from Ethiopia so we too have to use a different system. If my young team can repeat their commitment and attitude shown in the first match, l will be happy and will let the result pick itself.”
Clement went on to say, Ghana is a household name on the continent and in world football therefore the Libyans will wary and be on guard of them. “I hope the youthfulness of my side and the experience of Ghana will produce an interesting contest” said Clemente.
His opposite number Konadu said he watched Friday’s opponents and Ghana certainly need to improve if they are to avoid Ethiopia’s fate, “There is no doubt Libya is a good team with enterprising youth who have speed and fluency about them. Both teams know that another three points increase the chances of making it out of the group. Of course one wants to play the final group match without pressure so yes we will go for maximum points,” said Konadu.
Libya bossed the midfield and denied their opponents (Ethiopia) ball possession. Man of the match midfielder Mohamed Elgadi along with Faisal Ali Saleh and Motasem Sabbou controlled the midfield especially in the first half and regularly found their quick forwards Elmutasem Abushnaf and Mohamed Ghanudi with passes. Ghana will be looking to neutralise and minimize this Libyan strength. For their part the Ghanaians will be seeking to keep possession better than they did against Congo. One thing the two teams have in common is pace.
Ghana’s right back Godfred Saka was involved in some of the best moves as was fellow defender Nuru Sulley. A mobile Libyan strike-force will be up against an equally mobile defence that also includes Kwabena Adusei and Joshua Tijani. Match day 2 in group C is set to provide some interesting battles.