2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Sunday 03 February 2013



Ghana (0) 2 – 0 (0) Cape Verde

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

The final score says that in the end there was no fairy-tale for underdogs Cape Verde. However, they may consider themselves unlucky to be exiting the competition. In the opening forty-five  minutes, Cape Verde more than held their own and had the best of the limited chances that were created, when on a couple of occasions, Heldon shot high and wide when well placed. Ghana keeper Duada was also called upon to intercept a low driven cross that had Soares waiting to pounce. 0-0 at half-time with The Blue Sharks more content with their opening forty-five minutes than Ghana. Unfortunately for Cape Verde, they fell behind on fifty-four minutes to a most dubious penalty. Ghana skipper Asamoah Gyan went down after a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with Carlitos and despite protests from the Cape Verde players the referee awarded a penalty. Substitute Wakaso smashed it in straight down the middle of the goal and undeservedly, The Black Stars were ahead. The goal did not deflate Cape Verde and they created a number of excellent chances. Ghana keeper Duada denied Cape Verde an equaliser on a number of occasions, with the pick of the saves from efforts by substitute Platini and Djaniny. With the game deep into time added on, Cape Verde keeper Vozinha came up for a corner, however as the effort was cleared, Wakaso ran onto the ball and was able to slot into an empty net to give Ghana a 2-0 win. The exit for Cape Verde, given the nature of their defeat felt slightly unjust. However, they will long be remembered for being one of the bright moments of the 2013 AFCON tournament. Ghana progress, but on this performance look far from title winning material.


South Africa (1) 1 – 1 (0) Mali AET

(Mali won 3-1 on penalties)

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

The dreaded football foe that is the penalty shoot-out claimed its first victim as hosts South Africa went out in their Quarter-Final against Mali. Bafana Bafana had dominated the first-half and took the lead on thirty one minutes. It was an end-to-end move from South Africa, which started when keeper Khune fed Mahlangu, who drove at the Mali defence, before playing the ball out wide left to Thuso Phala. The Mali defence pulled across too many players, which allowed Tokelo Rantie in plenty of space and with an easy finish from just outside the six yard box, following Phala’s cross. Into the second-half, South Africa started the opening ten minutes on the front foot, but were unable to create a second goal. Instead, Mali started to find a way back into the match and on fifty eight minutes were level. Mahamadou Samassa got out wide on the left and crossed into the box, with three South African players in attendance there looked to be no real threat, but they all inexplicably stopped in their tracks allowing Seydou Keita a free header from six yards out. The crowd in Durban were stunned and it certainly seemed to drain the confidence of the home team, as they rarely threatened in the remaining thirty minutes of normal time. Mali looked the stronger of the teams, without creating a match winning chance. Extra-time couldn’t separate the teams and so it was down to penalties. South Africa took the first and Siphiwe Tshabalala put them 1-0 up, however that was to be their only success as So Diakite saved the efforts of Furman, Mahlangu and Majoro missed. Mali only needed three attempts which were converted by Cheick Tidiane Diabate, Tamboura and Mahamane Traore. Mali probably just about deserved to go through, but it was cruel on the hosts.


Ivory Coast v Nigeria

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

The competition favourites Ivory Coast are unbeaten after two wins gained against Togo and Tunisia and a draw with Algeria, in their Group games. Their qualification to this stage is no surprise and it is not something they have struggled with in recent tournaments. However, they carry the nagging burden that despite the array of talent at their disposal over the years they have only ever been champions once (1992). Nigeria are also unbeaten having drawn with Burkina Faso and Zambia and beaten Ethiopia to claim a Quarter-Final place. Like Ivory Coast, Nigeria are one of the ‘big’ names in African football, appearing at four of the last five World Cup Finals. However, The Super Eagles have not translated the success on the World stage into AFCON wins, with only two titles in 1980 and 1994. This is a clash of African football ‘heavyweights’, with talent on both sides. It’s a tight one to call; my hope is that there is a winner in normal time.


Burkina Faso v Togo

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

The pity for the last of the Quarter-Final games is that it is to be played on the very poor pitch at Nelspruit. However, the conditions are the same for both sides and they will know what to expect having played their during the Group stages. Burkina Faso won Group C after draws with Nigeria and Zambia and an emphatic 4-0 win over Ethiopia. Togo came through on goal-difference after losing their opening game to Ivory Coast, beating Algeria and finishing with a draw against Tunisia. Burkina Faso will start as slight favourites against a Togo team making their first ever appearance in the Quarter-Finals of the AFCON.

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Posted February 3, 2013 by Editor in category "2013 Africa Cup of Nations

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