New England Soccer Today

Cape Verde’s Cinderella Run Ends

A plucky Cape Verde held off Ghana for nearly an hour before substitute Mubarak Wakaso scored the first of his two goals from the spot to give his squad a 2-0 victory in Saturday’s African Nations Cup quarterfinal match.

Wakaso, who came on the 47th minute, scored seven minutes later from the penalty spot. Teammate Asamoah Gyan set up the penalty after Cape Verde midfielder Emanuel Carlitos brought him down inside the area on a breakaway opportunity.

Wakaso scored his second in stoppage time after Cape Verde keeper Josimar Diaz Vozinha left his net empty to join his teammates on a corner kick in Ghana territory.

With the win, the Black Stars advance to the semifinals, where they’ll play the winner of Sunday’s Togo-Burkina Faso contest. As for the Blue Sharks, the clock strikes midnight on their Cinderella run, which included shock victories over Cameroon and Angola.

Despite the odds, the game remained scoreless through the first half, as both clubs employed a “fall to the pitch” approach on a number of challenges.

It wasn’t long before Ghana took control of the match in the second stanza. Gyan exploited a defensive breach and looked ready to open the account in the 53rd minute. But Carlitos arrived late to trip up the skipper, and the referee pointed to the spot, where Wakaso scored.

Cape Verde nearly responded in the 82nd minute when Heldon ripped a dangerous shot that looked prime to level it late. But keeper Fatau Dauda made a strong left handed save to frustrate the Blue Sharks.

In the 95th minute, Cape Verde had one last chance to send it to overtime from a corner kick. But the Black Stars quickly cleared it out, and with Vozinha upfield to play the corner, Wakaso chased down the clearance it and casually sent it into an empty net.

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