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Football

Ricardo Inuguez on cloud 9 after sealing World Cup qualification

CAF

Libya coach Ricardo Inuguez is thrilled to have accomplished his mission with the Mediterranean Knights as they beat Egypt on penalties to finish third in the TotalEnergies CAF Futsal AFCON Morocco 2024.

The 2008 winners came from two goals down to force the match to penalties with second-half goals from Mohamed Said and Suhayb Alghoul.

“Our objective was to qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup when I joined Libya over a year ago, and now our mission is accomplished,” Inuguez said.

“We were focused on this match because in the semifinal we sacrificed resting some of the players when the margin got bigger so that they would be fresher for the third-place match. It is a unique opportunity to grab a spot in the World Cup in Uzbekistan.

“In the first half, we were unlucky as we had seven opportunities to score but we conceded twice. During the interval, I told the players to continue believing in their abilities, and with the support of the public, we scored twice to head to penalties,” he added.

Goalkeeper Mahmoud Abd Elwahab was the hero for Ricardo’s side as he made two saves in the shootouts to give Libya a place in the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan later this year.

“We practiced penalties during training and analyzed the penalty takers of Egypt to be ready if we needed the shootouts,” the Spaniard said.

“The support of the public was incredible, especially in the second half. They gave us the energy to come back from two goals down.”

Egypt coach Gehad Arafa admitted it’s a huge disappointment for the Pharaohs to miss out on a place in the FIFA Futsal World Cup for the first time.

“It’s a huge surprise and a disappointment for us. I have no words to express my feelings, but that’s how the game is,” the international said.

“We had a very good first half, and in the second half, we lost some opportunities to score. After failing to score the third goal, Libya scored twice before winning penalties.

“We have seen many times the best players missing their spot kicks. The goalkeeper of Libya was inspired, but during the first half, we were leading 2-0 with the hope of finishing off the game in the second half, but we failed to score,” Gehad concluded.

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