3 February 2013

Cape Verde/Ghana: Blue Sharks Give Black Stars Uphill Task

Photo: Luigi Bennett/Backpagepix
Fernando Varela of Cape Verde scores with a header, helping his team make history by qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals in their first Africa Cup of Nations finals.

For Ghana, victory over Cape Verde in their African Nations Cup quarter-final turned out harder than expected, with a second-half penalty decision proving decisive.

It looked a tad harsh when Carlitos was penalised for a charge on Asamoah Gyan that led to the spot kick which was converted by Mubarak Wakaso.

Although Ghana got another goal before the end, the first proved the turning point of the game.

"The key to our victory was the penalty and it opened up the game for us," admitted Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan after the match.

"We stood firm, we have experience. At these knockout stages, when you lose a game you are out of the competition so the most important thing is we got through.

"They [Cape Verde] were tactically disciplined and we were expecting a difficult game. They were all behind the ball and they have very strong players. The first half was a bit frustrating because we couldn't go through their defence."

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah agreed that getting the win was all that mattered.

"The first half was OK, the mental attitude was really good. In the second half Cape Verde dominated and we stood up to them but the most important thing was that we won," Appiah told reporters after the game.

Saturday's result at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium ended the fairytale run of the Cape Verdians, who far exceeded expectations at the tournament.

Their charismatic coach Lucio Antunes was not far wrong when he asserted: "Unfortunately the best team is going home tomorrow so the tournament is going to lose a little bit of shine. There are lots of South Africans even crying that Cape Verde is out.

"The positive that I'm taking from this is that Cape Verde is not worse than any of the other teams, in fact Cape Verde is as good as any of the big teams here."

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Ghana needed a second-half penalty and a late breakaway goal to end Cape Verde's gallant run at the African Nations Cup… Read more »

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