Cape Verde edge Mauritania to claim Afcon quarterfinal berth

football29 January 2024 19:03| © Backpage TXT

Cape Verde edged Mauritania 1-0 in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 match at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Monday night.

A late penalty from Ryan Mendes saw the Blue Sharks claim a deserved victory, as they moved into the quarterfinals to match their best-ever Afcon showing, while the Lions of Chinguetti bow out after an historic first progression beyond the group stage.

Mendes threatened twice in the opening 10 minutes, with a shot deflected just wide of the target and an attempted lob which nearly caught out Mauritania goalkeeper Babacar Niasse.

Mauritania’s first effort in anger came from Bodda Mouhsine, who whipped a shot just wide direct from a free kick in the 15th minute.

The Lions of Chinguetti suffered an injury blow and were forced to replace Omare Gassama with Guessouma Fofana in the 35th minute, while the half closed out with the teams still locked at 0-0.

The teams traded chances in the opening phase of the second half, and just before the hour mark Mauritania created the clearest opportunity of the game via a powerful run from Bouna Amar, but Souleymane Anne blazed a shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The next major goal threat came from the Blue Sharks on 78 minutes, with Jovane cutting in from the left flank and firing off a shot which required a sharp save from Niasse.

The Mauritania 'keeper made an even better save shortly thereafter, reacting superbly to palm away Mendes’ glancing header from a corner kick.

On 86 minutes a Mauritanian error in defence allowed Cape Verde attacker Gilson to nick ahead of Niasse and earn his team a penalty – Mendes took the spot kick and fired home to put the Blue Sharks 1-0 up and on course for the quarterfinals.

Cape Verde still had to see themselves through a tense 10 minutes of injury time, but held out to secure progression – they will go on to face Morocco or South Africa in the last quarterfinal, set for the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Saturday 3 February.

Cape Verde: (0) 1 (Mendes 88’ pen)

Mauritania: 0

Cape Verde: Vozinha, Moreira (Semedo 90+5’), Costa, Lopes, Joao Paulo, Monteiro, Lenini, Duarte (Rocha 71’), Jovane (Gilson 85’), Mendes, Bebe (Rodrigues 71’)

Mauritania: Niasse, Houeibib, L. Ba, Diaw, Anne (E.H. Ba 79’), Amar (Kamara 66’), Keita (Elwely 79’), Gassama (G. Fofana 35’), Mouhsine, Koita, Tanjy (P. Ba 66’)