Celebrations erupted on the streets of Tripoli and other cities as the country won its first international football title.
Libya won the African Nations Championship in Cape Town beating the favourites, Ghana on February 1st. The game had finished 0-0 after 90 minutes, but the final result was a 4-3 win to Libya after a penalty shoot-out. Both goalkeepers saved two penalties each before Ghana’s Joshua Tijani missed the crucial spot-kick to hand Libya the victory.
The African Nations Championship is the continent’s lower-level tournament for home-based players, but that mattered little for the Libyans.
It was originally intended that Libya would be the hosts of the tournament, but the civil unrest in the country meant that the event ended up taking place in South Africa instead.
Given the history of past matches between these two countries, extra time came as no surprise.
Their previous two meetings in the group stages of this year’s competition and the 2009 event ended in 1-1 draws, while Ghana won the penalty shoot-out in the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations final after the teams finished level at 1-1 after extra time.
In the day’s third-placed play-off, Nigeria beat Zimbabwe 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Christian Chinonso Obiozor’s.
Libya will host the main African Cup of Nations in 2017.