Jubilant Cape Verde ensure quarter final place in first Africa Cup of Nations
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Five things we learned from Day 9 at the Africa Cup of Nations.
- North African football is not in the rudest of health. Algeria, who are the second highest ranked African team, are out of the competition after they lost their second consecutive Group D game. Tunisia edged the North African derby 1- 0 on Day 4 and then Algeria were turned over 2-0 by Togo on Day 8 - despite the 13 minutes of stoppage time to accommodate the repair of a broken goal post. The Algerians will be playing for honour when they take on Côte d’Ivoire on Day 12 on Wednesday. Morocco are packing their bags following their 2-2 draw with South Africa on Day 9. It was tough on Morocco who attacked the South Africans like men who needed to win which was actually the case.
- South Africa should get some defenders and throw Siyabonga Sangweni up front. For the second successive game, the left back has scored. We’re not talking scuff stuff here. This is look up, survey options and stroke the ball past keeper. Sangweni registered South Africa ’s first goal of the tournament – a left footed volley fired from left to right across the keeper in the match against Angola. His equaliser in the 87th minute of the game against Morocco was a right footed curler from 20 metres. Slick.
- Untrammelled celebration is welcome at the competition. Part 1. Lucio Antunes grabbed a Cape Verde flag and ran around the pitch with his players in Port Elizabeth after they’d come from behind to beat Angola 2-1 to book a place in the last eight of this, their first, Africa Cup of Nations. Antunes exuberance comes straight out of the book of one José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix who, when coaching Porto to UEFA Champions League triumph nearly a decade ago, launched into a fist-pumping surge down the touchline at Old Trafford during a last 16 clash with Manchester United. But that was when he was a dashing young gunslinger. Antunes enjoyed a week last month at a Mourinho coaching clinic and it appears to have been a special time.
- Untrammelled celebration is welcome at the competition. Part 2. At the Africa Cup of Nations, the post match protocol involves the coach and captain attending a press conference in a staid room to answer occasionally bland questions from the media. Nothing so mundane for the Cape Verde bunch. The entire team piled into the press conference shouting and screaming for joy. Come on lads there are rules. But hang on, they’ve just ripped up the form book. The team drawn from an island conglomerate of 500,000 people had reached the last eight after beating Angola and drawing with Morocco and South Africa . Yes. Yes. Yes.
- You need strong nerves as a coach in the final round of group stage games. The teams qualified for the last eight from Group A, changed at various points during the matches between South Africa and Morocco and Angola v Cape Verde. The review will not go into minute details because that is a bit too pedantic. But essentially Morocco were through while they were leading South Africa . The hosts were never out despite trailing to Morocco because Angola were in front against Cape Verde. However once Cape Verde went 2-1 up against Angola , South Africa would have been eliminated if Morocco had scored a winner. Just as well it was a Cape Verde late show then.