3 February 2013

Cape Verde/Ghana: Goals (and Fouls) Help Ghana Beat Cape Verde

Five things we learned from day 15 at the Africa Cup of Nations

That Wakaso Mubarak has learned from his Day 6 proselytising. The Espanyol striker was back in the Ghana starting line-up after missing the final Group C match against Niger on 28 January through suspension. The 22-year-old picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Mali on 24 January after converting a penalty and celebrating by lifting his shirt to reveal a vest bearing "Allah is Great".

That kind of behaviour is considered sinful in the house of the football lords. When he tucked away a penalty in the 54th minute of the quarter-final against Cape Verde to give his side a 1-0 lead, he plunged to the floor and kissed the turf. Ah, that's beter.

Goals win games. Cape Verde played really well in their quarter-final against Ghana but poor finishing let them down. Ghana were far from convincing in their 2-0 victory but they're into the semis.

Fouls win games. Ghana committed 25 fouls as they kicked poor Cape Verde into the rubble. If that's the only way you can win against an island team making its first appearance .....

Good God Almighty! That Wakaso Mubarak really has learned from his Day 6 proselytising! When Wakaso slotted in Ghana 's second goal in stoppage time to complete the 2-0 hack up of the plucky islanders, he eschewed the turf celebration and instead ran into the arms of the Ghana players on the touchline. The hugging and akissing was all brought to an end by the officials who warned them there might be bookings afoot for over exuberant celebration. Can Wakaso keep a lid on it if he scores in the semis? God only knows.

Penalties win games. Oh, deary me! South Africa's defence was all over the shop as they let Mali midfielder Seydou Keita saunter up and head in for the equaliser in the 57th minute of the quarter-final in Durban . The hosts had taken the lead in the 30th minute through Tokelo Rantie. After extra-time proved indecisive, cue the penalty shoot-out. Though it really didn't have the drama that we normally expect. Siphiwe Tshabalala fired in the first for the hosts. But after that Dean Furman and May Mahlangu saw their shots saved by Soumaila Diakité while the Malians slotted in theirs. Lehlohonolo Majoro's effort to keep South Africa in the shoot-out was blasted well wide of the right hand post. It ended 3-1 to Mali.

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