It's underway! Africa Cup of Nations opener sees Equatorial Guinea striker Balboa sucker punch Libya
Former Real Madrid winger Javier Balboa curled home a dramatic winner with three minutes left as co-hosts Equatorial Guinea earned a shock 1-0 win over Libya in the opening game at the Africa Cup of Nations to earn a $1million bonus (642,000) from President Obiang Nguema's son.
'It's the famous $1m,' midfielder Juvenal Edjogo-Owono said grinning.
'For us the money is not important, the most important thing is to start the competition with a win.'
Spectacular: The opening ceremony was colourful
Explosive: The tournament began with a bang
Coach Gilson Paulo added: 'We played a
good game. We had trained so little, but the tactical dedication of our
players was great.'
Libya qualified for the finals
against the odds after the revolution in their country, and forced
Confederation of African Football officials to remove the old Muammar
Gaddafi-associated flag from its tournament website ahead of the match.
Libya coach Marcos Paqueta praised the hosts, saying: 'The conditions were very difficult facing them at home.'
Equatorial Guinea, making their debut in the finals and starting the match with 11 players who were born abroad, had a first-half goal by Ivan Bolado controversially ruled out for offside after the ball slipped through Aboud's arms.
Hero: Javier Balboa's strike was the difference between the two sides
Close: A tight affair was settled in Equatorial Guinea's favour
Disallowed: The home team had a goal struck off
Libya, who qualified for the finals
despite the on-going conflict in their country, enjoyed plenty of
possession but always looked vulnerable on the counter attack.
The game started seven minutes late
following the opening ceremony and a speech by President Teodoro Nguema
Obiang Mbasogo which lasted several minutes.
Equatorial Guinea took to the field with five players born in Spain, two in Ivory Coast and one each from Cameroon, Liberia, Cape Verde and Brazil.
New: The Libya team display their new national flag
Wriggle: Ali Salama tries to escape the attentions of two Guinea players
Some qualified through parentage
while others were naturalised, arousing debate over whether they had
lived in the country for five years as required by the rules of soccer's
governing body FIFA.
Equatorial Guinea are also coached by a Brazilian, Gilson Paulo, who was facing compatriot Marco Paqueta on Saturday.
The home team, co-hosting the finals
with Gabon, were disappointed to have their first-half 'goal' chalked
off and went close again when Juvenal Edjogo volleyed wide from an
Libya's Ihab Albusaifi then tested Danilo's handling skills with a powerful volley during a spell of Libyan dominance, but Equatorial Guinea continued to look dangerous.
Lawrence Doe almost made the breakthrough with a rasping free kick stopped by Aboud.
But just as the game seemed to be heading for a draw Ekedo split the Libya defence and Balboa delivered the knockout punch.