Last Updated: 21/01/12 8:32pm
That's it! Equatorial Guinea are in dream land and get AFCON 2012 off to a winning start. It's heartache for the Libyans, but they had their chances and will have very little to complain about. Hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have, so until next time, have a great one. Cheers!
Libya almost respond instantly and go within inches of grabbing an equaliser through Djamal, but his sweetly struck shot crashed off the woodwork and out to safety. Heart-in-mouth moment for the home fans.
We've had to wait 87 minutes, but we have our first goal of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. The co-hosts break forward in a trademark counter attack, and after Javier Balboa was played through the outcome was hardly in doubt, with the midfielder calmly placing his shot in the very top corner of the net to send the home fans into delirium.
Libya's best movement of the game almost now, and it almost proved to be decisive. They work the ball well down the wing before exchanging several passes inside the area, but Ahmed Zuway's poked effort doesn't have the right direction on it and the chance goes begging. Just five minutes of normal time left at the Estadio de Bata.
Samir Aboud is proving to be Libya's saving grace tonight, and the goalkeeper once more keeps his side in it, tracking back to just get fingertips on Iban Iyanga's goal-bound cross-come-shot. We're getting closer.
It's taken the co-hosts some time to find their feet in the second-half, but they're starting to get into the stride that saw them threaten so much in the first 45 minutes. We're almost treated to the first goal of AFCON 2012 too as Lawrence Doe lines up a 40-yard free-kick, and although it looked way too far out for a shot the player proved otherwise, hammering a blistering effort which brings a fine save out of Samir Aboud.
A rare spell of possession for Equatorial Guinea almost leads to the opener as they sweep from one end of the field to the other in a matter of seconds, but the attack is brought to an end by a brave block on the edge of the area.
The Libyans are starting to build up a real head of steam here as they enjoy the lion's share of possession. Equatorial Guinea, though, are proving resolute in front of goal and seem to have all avenues covered every time a wave of white shirts pushes forward.
The second-half hasn't quite been the end-to-end affair it was in the first, although Ihab, who was brought on a few minutes earlier, managed to bring a fine save out of Danilo with a stinging drive from the edge of the area.
Libya are temporarily down to 10 men as Marwan Ahmed needs some treatment on the sideline. His side play on without him and work a good shooting opportunity, but the less said about the resulting effort the better as Ahmed Zuway blazes the ball horribly wide. At the other end, Thierry Fidjeu almost produces a sublime goal after controlling with his chest before acrobatically volleying goalwards, but he can't keep the effort down and the ball fizzes wide. Brilliant skill by the Cameroon-born striker to set up that chance.
The co-hosts have begun the half brightly and get their first effort off just minutes after the restart. It's a very tentative one though and won't trouble the goalkeeper. Libya then have their first pot at goals of the second period, but it's wild and sails miles wide of the mark.
Equatorial Guinea get us back up and running in the second-half. No changes by either coach at the break, so we should be able to expect some more of the same from the first-half. Some goals would be nice though.
The referee brings a fairly entertaining half to a close. Join me after the break for the second 45 minutes.
The fourth official raises his board and shows there will be just one minute of first-half stoppage time. Libya have been much brighter in the closing stages of the half, but they are yet to properly test Danilo in the Equatorial Guinea goal.
The chances keep piling up for Equatorial Guinea, but I don't know how many more times I can use the word 'wasteful' tonight. A ball into the area is blocked away at the near post, only for the ball to set up perfectly for Juvenal Edjogom but the skipper completely skewed his shot which curled well wide of the mark. Just a few minutes left in the first-half and it's still goalless.
The co-hosts have enjoyed plenty of the ball in the first-half, but I need not remind you of how wasteful they have been in the final third. However, it is still early days and the confidence will continue to grow if they keep playing like this.
Equatorial Guinea look really dangerous when going forward, but it's the final ball that is lacking for Gilson Paulo's men, who, for the umpteenth time, have ended a well-worked move with an over hit ball at the back-post to no-one in particular. The bark is very impressive, but do they have a bite?
This has been a wonderfully open game so far, with real chances at both ends, but we're still waiting, patiently, for the first goal of the 2012 AFCON finals. Hopefully it'll be one that's worth waiting for, but at the same time let's hope we don't have to wait too long.
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These sides might be considered footballing minnows on the African continent, but I don't think anyone told the two sets of players who are showing some real quality with the ball at their feet. Brilliant stuff here as the teams do the 2012 AFCON opener proud.
Equatorial Guinea have hit the post and got the ball in the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes, but it didn't count as the linesman's flag had been raised for offside. It was a bit of difficult one to call though as the man who was flagged for the infringement was not directly involved with the play, but it matters not as the game goes on.
They've barely had a touch of the ball in the opening 15 minutes, but Equatorial Guinea almost take the lead as the Libya defence conceded possession at the back, allowing Randy to worm his way into the area before cutting the ball back for Ivan Bolad, but he can't get the ball out from underneath his feet and the defenders are able to get back and clear the danger. Much better from the host nation. We've just had our first shot on target too you know, with Javier Balboa drawing a relatively easy save from Samir Aboud.
The Libyans are putting together some pretty decent passing movements and the co-hosts are chasing shadows at the moment. They do eventually managed to string together their first real attack, but it ends with a lofted ball to the far-post missing everyone and bouncing harmlessly behind.
First real chance of the match goes the way of Libya who break forward with real pace and purpose, working the ball into the area, but a quite brilliant last-ditch tackle from Rui Da Gracia robs the ball from El-Khatroushi who goes down looking for a penalty, but that challenge was as clean as a whistle, and the referee does not blow his.
Not much to tell you about in the way of attacking football in the opening stages, but you can't blame either side for trying settle themselves. It's a massive occasion for the men out there tonight, and a few nerves are sure to be jangled, highlighted by the number of wayward passes here early on.
We're running slightly with the kick-off here, but the players are getting the handshakes out of the way and referee Desire Doue Noumandiez is almost ready to blow his whistle for the first time.
The national anthems of the respective teams are being sung, and you can see the pride swelling in the eyes of the players and fans. Magic moments in Africa tonight.
A host of footballing dignitaries take to the field, along with the two sets of players, and we're just moments away from the opening game of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
We're just 10 minutes away from kick-off now, and the atmosphere inside the Estadio de Bata is absolutely palpable. The opening ceremony is still dancing through the minds of the spectators, but all attentions will soon be focused on the beautiful game.
Libya, meanwhile, will be led out by captain and goalkeeper Samir Aboud, but infinitely more interesting is the inclusion of Walid El-Khatroushi, who, for the last 12 months, has been fighting with the anti-Gaddafi rebels on the frontline. He was ultimately persuaded to put down the gun and return to the field though. Unreal.
So, Juvenal is confirmed as Equatorial Guinea's captain in the absence of regular skipper Rodolfo Bodipo, while former Real Madrid man Javier Balboa also starts.
Eq Guinea: Danilo, David Alvarez, Rui Fernando Da Gracia, Fousseny Kamisoko, Juvenal Edjogo (captain), Iban Iyanga, Ivan Bolado, Javier Balboa, Thierry Fidjeu, Ben-Esono Konate, Lawrence Doe
Libya: Samir Aboud (captain), Rabea Aboubaker, Abdulaziz Berrish, Younes Shibani, Mohamed Esnani, Ahmed Osman, Ali Salama, Marwan Ahmed, Walid El-Khatroushi, Ahmed Zuway, Jamal Mohamed
Libya coach Marcos Paqueta on Friday claimed "the key to qualifying (for the knockout phase) is the first match. If you lose the first match, then you have to take risks in the second matches and this could backfire," and I for one cannot help but agree with the man.
I'll be here all evening good people, so why not get involved by emailing your thoughts, predictions or rants to email@example.com and I'll share them with all to read.
It's always more fun when there's something riding on it, and our friends at Sky Bet have put the co-hosts at 7/4 to clinch victory, while a draw is 19/10.
The road to the AFCON final starts tonight, although whether either of these two sides will be there in the end remains to be seen.