Johannesburg — Husain Taqtaq chose the perfect setting to score on his debut for Libya in a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final-round qualifier.
The 21-year-old came off the bench at the Benina Martyrs Stadium, where he plays for the Al Ahly Benghazi club, to head in an 80th-minute equaliser.
Taqtaq rose at the near post to power a header off a corner past goalkeeper Jesus Owono, one of 10 foreign-based players in the Equatoguinean starting line-up.
The visitors to Benghazi from central Africa had taken the lead on 62 minutes from another corner with Jose Elo Ayeto pushing the ball into the net past slow-reacting goalkeeper Ayman al Tihar.
The result ended a four-victory run by Group J leaders Equatorial Guinea after a 4-0 hammering from Tunisia in the opening round.
One goal each 🤝
Libya and Equatorial Guinea conclude their journey in #TotalEnergiesAFCONQ2023 with a draw in Group J 🇱🇾🆚🇬🇶 pic.twitter.com/H1UFsW4QGP
— CAF (@CAF_Online) September 6, 2023
Libya won their first match, against Botswana, then lost four straight qualifiers before Taqtaq came to the rescue in the eastern city.
The result had no impact on qualification with Equatorial Guinea and former champions Tunisia having secured the two available places in the previous round.
Equatorial Guinea lead the group by three points, but will be overtaken on head-to-head records if Tunisia win at home against Botswana on Thursday.
The match in Libya was the first of 22 qualifiers spanning seven days with nine of the 24 places at the finals up for grabs ahead of the January 13-February 11 tournament in the Ivory Coast.
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