BLOEMFONTEIN — Libya beat Zimbabwe 5-4 in a penalty shootout to clinch a place in the African Nations Championship (Chan) final at the Free State Stadium last night.
Eric Chipeta, Danny Phiri, Hardlife Zvirekwi and Partson Jaure scored for the Warriors while Simba Sithole of Dynamos, Peter Moyo, Milton Ncube and Ali Sadiki all missed.
The sides cancelled each other out in a goalless 180 minutes, with Zimbabwe having the better of the chances, but failing to take them.
It took Libya three attempts to win on penalties after missing their fifth and seventh spot-kicks after Zimbabwe had fallen behind with misses of their own.
But goalkeeper Mohamed Abdaula scored his side’s eighth kick past Zimbabwe goalminder George Chigova, who had saved two penalties, to earn victory.
Libya will meet the winner of the semi-final between Ghana and Nigeria, which was played last night with Zimbabwe fighting in the third and fourth place play off against the losers of the second semi-final.
The Warriors are already guaranteed of $250 000 for reaching the last four for the first time in the history of the competition after falling out in the group stages in the last two editions in Ivory Coast (2009) and Sudan (2011).
Javier Clemente took over as Libya boss only in October last year, but has already steered them through to a final — although the Spaniard’s side rode their luck a little against Zimbabwe.
The Warriors were the first to threaten, Ali Sadiki testing Abdaula with a 25-yard shot that the keeper tipped over the bar.
Seven minutes later Libya had a chance to the lead, but Mohamed Ghanudi sent a close-range header wide. The only other noteworthy chance of the half fell to Simba Sithole, but the Zimbabwean nodded his effort off target.
After the break, neither side were able to find their rhythm and the lone opportunity came seven minutes from the end when Kudakwashe Mahachi smashed over from inside the box.
Extra-time was a cagey affair — in keeping with the pattern of the previous 90 minutes — but Libya might have snatched victory when Elmutasem Abushnaf struck a shot between the legs of keeper Chigova only for the ball to drift wide.
Instead, it needed penalties to separate the teams and it took Abdaula to hold his nerve to send Libya through at the third time of asking.
George Chigova, Eric Chipeta, Danny Phiri, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Ali Sadiki, Peter Moyo, Masimba Mambare, Partson Jaure, Simba Sithole, Milton Ncube
Mohamed Abdaula, Ahmed Alaghasi, Elmehdi Elhouni, Osama Ghit, Muataz Fadel, Mohamed Elgadi, Mohamed Ghanudi, MotasemSabbou, Ali Salama, Ahmed El Trbi, Abdelrahman Fetori
— BBC Sport