Cape Verde secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 1-0 victory over Mauritania in a tightly contested round of 16 clash. The match, held at Abidjan’s Félix Houphouët Boigny Stadium on Monday, witnessed both teams vying for supremacy.
The breakthrough came in the 89th minute when Ryan Mendes converted a penalty kick, propelling Cape Verde to the last eight of the tournament. This late goal marked Cape Verde’s second-ever qualification for the AFCON quarter-finals.
Cape Verde’s coach, Bubista, expressed delight in his team’s performance, emphasizing their focus on navigating through the competition despite facing more prominent teams. Bubista highlighted the goal of strengthening the squad for future challenges.
On the other side, Mauritania’s coach, Amir Abdou, expressed bitter disappointment at conceding a “ridiculous” late goal. Abdou lamented an individual error that led to their exit from the tournament and believed his team had opportunities to turn the game in their favor. Despite the disappointment, Abdou took pride in Mauritania’s overall performance in their AFCON debut and urged a positive outlook for the future.
Cape Verde, considered underdogs by many, maintained an impressive run in the tournament, remaining unbeaten in the group stage. The Blue Sharks defeated Ghana and Mozambique, drew with Egypt, and continued their surprising journey with the victory over Mauritania. As Cape Verde eyes further success, Mauritania reflects on what could have been in their inaugural AFCON appearance.