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Gabon revive faint qualification hopes as Libya drop out

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Gabon brought to life their faint hopes of progressing to the play-off round of qualification for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after beating Libya 1-0 at home on Saturday.

The result meant Gabon moved to seven points, three behind leaders Egypt. However, the Pharaohs can wrap up the group later Saturday if they avoid defeat against Angola, to make the final round of qualification matches a formality.

Libya who were second heading into the penultimate round have consequently bowed out of the race as they dropped to third with six points.

Arsenal forward Pierre Emerick Aubameyang expertly tucked away a 54th minute penalty to hand Gabon the maximum points at home. The hosts were handed a spot kick after substitute Mario Lemina was fouled inside the box by Naji Daraa.

Gabon had started the second half strongly with Jim Allevinah testing the keeper early on with a shot from inside the box that rolled straight to his arms.

After conceding, Libya almost restored parity but Hamdou Elhouni shot straight to the keeper with little power after picking the ball unmarked at the edge of the box.

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Despite concerted efforts, Libya could not get a point from the match as Gabon defended well.

Meanwhile, Guinea and Guinea Bissau played to a draw in a dead rubber Group I fixture, with Guinea Bissau remaining second with five points, seven behind already qualified Morocco.

Home side Guinea had countless chances to score as they sought their first win of the group phase, but they were blunt in front of goal as they registered a fourth successive draw.

Sory Kaba thought he had scored for the Guineans in the 61st minute, but his goal was ruled out for offside.

-cafonline

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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