Match report: Cape Verde beaten by Ghana in Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final
Posted: 2 February 2013 Time: 19:00
Cape Verde put in a courageous and spirited performance as they went down 2-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Ghana.
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah fielded an unchanged team, with Mubarek Wakaso failing to win his place back after suspension, although he came on at the start of the second half and opened the scoring through a penalty in the 53rd minute.
Cape Verde made two changes to their starting XI: Platini and Gege were dropped to the bench, while Heldon, who scored the goal to get the team to the knockout stages, and Nivaldo came in.
The Islanders put in a Herculean effort, especially in the second half, and although they had ‘nothing to lose’ going into the match, they could have won, and some will surely insist they should have.
The match took a while to get going, with both sides seemingly afraid of making a mistake.
Cape Verde had the first shot of the game, after a nice team move culminated in Babanco skying the ball way over the crossbar.
Heldon had a chance soon after, and should have put the Blue Sharks ahead. Marco Soares scuffed a shot on goal, and Julio Tavares squared to Heldon, who fired over the bar.
The match started to open up after that, and Heldon had another shot, this time from outside the box and closer than the first, a real let off for the Black Stars.
Half an hour in Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda had to be alert, after Tavares sent in a low cross from the left in a dangerous area, but the keeper managed to collect ahead of the onrushing Marco Soares.
The match went into the break 0-0, but the minnows had not shown an inkling on intimidation from Ghana.
10 minutes into the second half the Black Stars were awarded a penalty when Carlitos shoulder-charged Asamoah Gyan in the box. It was an extremely harsh decision from the referee, but Wakaso made no mistake from the spot, smashing the ball down the centre, while Cape Verde keeper Vozinha dove to his left.
Cape Verde immediately came back with a couple of close calls, the first falling to Heldon, who wasted another when he hit wide.
Substitute Platini had arguably Cape Verde’s chance of the match, but his shot was fingertipped around the post by Dauda.
Babanco followed that up with a few chances of his own, including a great free-kick that whizzed into the box, but the Cape Verdeans were unable to get onto the end of it.
Ghana had a rare chance of their own, when Wakaso blasted the ball over the box on the counter-attack.
The Black Stars came back into the match in the final minutes, pressing for a second, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Heldon came unbearably close for the Islanders in injury time, when his free-kick from outside the box headed for the top right corner, but Dauda saved for a corner.
From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared, and Ghana went on an audacious counter-attack. Cape Verde keeper Vozinha had gone up for the free-kick, and Wakaso beat defence in a sprint across the full length of the field, before hitting home to secure the result for the Black Stars.