Three-time champions Egypt weathered a first half resistance from Libya before seeing off the 2008 champions 5-2 to progress to the final of this year’s showpiece in Laayoune on Wednesday evening.
The two teams were tied at 1-1 by halftime with Mohamed Suleiman Ghaeb equalizing for the Libyans after Abdelrahman Mohamed had given the Egyptians an early lead.
However, Egypt came back stronger in the second half with Ahmed Mohamed Mostafa Khalaf and Elmoatazbellah Abdelhalim scoring one a piece as Abdelrahman added his second to give them victory against a tough Libya side.
Ibrahim Lahammel scored a late second for the Libyans with 13 seconds to go, but it was just mere statistic as the game was long sealed.
In a tightly contested opening half, the Libyans pulled level with just 37 seconds left before halftime, Ghaeb slotting the ball home from inside the arch after the Egyptians had struggled to clear Ahmad Mustafa’s shot from a freekick.
Both sides had contested equally in the opening 20 minutes, but it was Egypt who had the most chances to score. They broke the deadlock just a minute and 14 seconds on the clock when Abdelrahman Mohamed scored his third goal of the tournament with a shot from the left that sneaked under the keeper’s feet.
The Pharaohs had commanded possession in the early exchanges with Mostafa Khalaf having a shot from range saved while Mohamed had another shot come off the upright.
Egypt’s danger man Ahmed Mohamed had been tightly marked by the Libyans who only knew too well the amount of damage he could cause if given space. He however had one effort when some fancy stepovers saw him leave his markers for the dead but his final shot went just wide.
Libya had been calm all this while with Mohamed Zreeg testing the Egyptian keeper once while Hamdi Alshawani also had an effort saved. They finally got the reward in the final minute of the game, Egypt conceding only their third goal of the tournament.
But, Egypt were not ready to let a place in the final slip off their sight and they scored twice to ensure victory, dangerman Ahmed playing a crucial role.
He laid up the ball for Khalaf to score the second just a few minutes after the restart, the latter slicing a low shot from a tight angle. With eight minutes and 44 seconds to go, Ahmed teed up Abdelhalim from a freekick, and his low shot evaded the wall and the keeper to roll into the net.
Libya’s decision to go with a power player in the final four minutes worked in the opposite as instead of adding numbers in attack, they found themselves trailing further.
Egypt turned over possession with the Libyans attacking and Abdelrahman struck it from the edge of his own arch and into the net. Ahmed then added a goal for himself in similar fashion, his long-range volley flying into an empty net.