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Nigeria, Rwanda share lead after narrow wins

Tangiers, Morocco | AFP | Solitary goals brought Nigeria and Rwanda African Nations Championship victories after tight matches in Morocco on Friday, and a share of the Group C lead.

Sunday Faleye scored after a corner to give Nigeria a 1-0 win over Libya in a foul-littered first match of a double header in northern coastal city Tangiers.

Later, Thierry Manzi also scored following a corner as Rwanda edged Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in a match that offered a little more excitement than the first.

Nigeria and Rwanda have four points and plus-one goal differences after two rounds, leaving them needing one point from their final fixtures to secure quarter-finals places.

The Nigerians meet already eliminated Equatorial Guinea next Tuesday at the same time as Rwanda face Libya, shock 2014 winners of a competition restricted to home-based footballers.

A top-two finish ensures entry to the knockout phase of the biennial tournament, and a victory for Libya would guarantee them one of the places.

An estimated 20,000 crowd — the biggest so far for a match not involving hosts and title favourites Morocco — were bitterly disappointed by the fare Nigeria and Libya offered.

Constant fouling meant the match never developed a rhythm and neither side created a clearcut scoring opportunity until Faleye netted 11 minutes from time.

A corner was flicked into the path of the 19-year-old and his close-range poke gave Libya captain and goalkeeper Mohamed Nashnush no chance.

Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Miguel Eyama made several fine saves, but was powerless to prevent a glancing Manzi header finding the net on 66 minutes.

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