Cape Verde clinches AFCON quarter-finals spot with late penalty drama against Mauritania

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Cape Verde clinches AFCON quarter-finals spot with late penalty drama against Mauritania

secured a thrilling 1-0 victory over in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations last 16 clash, earning them a spot in the quarter-finals. The match played at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, remained tense and goalless until the closing stages.

dominated possession and chances, with Jovane Cabral's early goal disallowed for offside. 's resolute defence held firm against Cape Verde's relentless pressure. As both teams sought a breakthrough, the passionate fans fueled the intensity.

The decisive moment occurred in the 87th minute when Mauritania's keeper, Babacar Niasse, fouled Gilson Tavares in the box. Captain Ryan Mendes stepped up to convert the penalty, sealing Cape Verde's victory.

Bubista, the coach of Cape Verde, expressed delight in his team's performance, stating, “We are carving our path; we know there are many bigger teams than us, but we are trying to focus on our game to have the opportunity to face these African powerhouses.” He emphasized the team's goal of strengthening its squad.

On the other side, Mauritania's coach, Amir Abdou, was disappointed by the late goal, describing it as “ridiculous.” Despite the exit, Abdou found positives, noting, “The team showed a good image in this ; we must remain positive for the future.”

Match Facts:

  • Cape Verde won their first-ever knockout game at the Africa Cup of Nations, marking a significant achievement in their history.
  • Mauritania has not scored in 70% of their games, with this match adding to their goalless encounters.
  • Cape Verde attempted 18 shots, their highest in an AFCON game since 2010, while Mauritania struggled with 11 shots, none on target.
  • Ryan Mendes' penalty goal in the 87th minute is the second-latest in a CAF Africa Cup of Nations knockout game since 2010.
  • Sidi Amar of Mauritania made eight tackles in the match, the joint-highest in the 2023 AFCON, reflecting a spirited defensive effort.

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