Cape Verde 1-0 Mauritania: Late penalty sees Cape Verde reach AFCON quarterfinals

Abidjan would host the fifth match of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages, with Cape Verde and Mauritania set to face off in Monday’s evening kickoff.

CAP: Vozinha; Paulo, Lopes, Evans Costa, Moreira; D’Encarnaçao Duarte, Pina, Monteiro; Cabral, Bebe, Mendes

MAU: Niasse; Diaw, Ba, Houbeib, Keita; Tanjy, Gassama, Bodda, Amar; Koïta; Anne

There were a plethora of early chances throughout Monday’s clash in Abidjan, with Mauritania seemingly the brighter of the two sides until Cape Verde’s Ryan Mendes found himself presented with a golden opportunity to snatch the lead after just nine minutes. He couldn’t though, firing wide of the target after latching onto a long ball over the top of the Mauritanian defence.

But the quick tempo of the match ultimately gave way to a rather scrappy affair, and quality chances would come at a premium – with the next effort worth noting coming just before the hour mark as Souleymane Anne blazed his strike wide of the target, before crashing to the floor as the magnitude of his blunder set in.

Mauritania’s spirit would waver as extra time seemed to be the probably outcome, allowing Cape Verde to seize control of the match in the dying stages. Garry Rodrigues and Jovane Cabral both saw chances denied, but there would still be one final chance for Cape Verde as Benchimol was felled inside the box by Babacar Niasse.

From the resulting penalty effort, Ryan Mendes was able to make amends for his earlier miss – converting from the spot with a remarkable composure to propel Cape Verde into the AFCON quarterfinals.

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Monday’s winners will face either Morocco or South Africa on Friday, with kickoff scheduled for 8pm. It will be just the second time that Cape Verde have reached the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.