Libya kept alive hopes of an African Nations Cup finals fairytale by holding Zambia to a 2-2 draw in their Group A match on Wednesday.
Ahmed Saad scored twice for the north Africans, who overcame the obstacle of last year’s civil war to qualify for the tournament, being co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
It was the first point for Libya, who must now beat Senegal in their final match at the weekend to have any chance of progressing to the last eight. Libya lost to Equatorial Guinea in last Saturday’s opening game.
Zambia had to twice fight back in a game delayed by more than an hour because of a torrential downpour that left the pitch virtually unplayable.
Workers attempted to clear puddles of water before kickoff but even then the two sides battled through a punishing 90 minutes in a mud bath.
Saad scored first for Libya after just four minutes, slotting in from the left after breaking clear of the defense.
But Zambia immediately took charge with Emmanuel Mayuka getting onto the end of a cross from Rainsford Kalaba to equalize in the 29th minute. It was his second goal of the tournament.
Saad took advantage of a defensive slip to restore Libya’s lead just after the break but again Libya’s advantage did not last long with Chris Katongo finishing from close range after a bicycle kick pass from Mayuka.
The heavy pitch saw the teams tire near the end but Zambia might have snatched victory in stoppage time as the Libyans cleared desperately under severe pressure.