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Afcon: Cape Verde 2 Angola 1

Debutants Cape Verde made history when they came from a goal down to beat Angola 2-1 on Sunday in their last Group A fixture.

Cape Verde were trailing the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations hosts in the first half due to a Nando Neves own goal, but late strikes from Toni Varela and substitute Heldon Ramos ensured the minnows progressed to the knockout stages for the first time in their football history.

The Blue Sharks had hosts South Africa to thank for drawing 2-2 with Morocco in the other group fixture.

The debutants conceded in the first half when captain Neves slotted in an own goal. He will never forget this game for being a bittersweet moment as he deflected a teasing low cross from Djalma towards Amaro, who mounted pressure on the guardsman on the left, and eventually flicked the ball into his own post.

In a matter of two minutes, the Blue Sharks almost drew level as Babanco curled in a wonderful free-kick, but Julio Tavares’ flicked header whistled narrowly past the post.

The first half saw more of the 2010 quarter-finalists dominating the exchanges with the debutants leaving most of the work to ever-busy Platini to do, but his efforts could not yield any meaningful results for coach Luis Antunes and his charges.

Uruguay-born head coach Gustavo Ferrin of Angola would be thanking his goalkeeper Lama, who denied the debutants twice on the goalline with two minutes into the second half, when Tavares diverted a Babanco corner towards the post.

Former Manchester United player Manucho, who engaged in a great deal of hard work and lively exchanges with Djalma, almost doubled the lead of the Palancas Negras when he settled on the ball in the danger zone from the latter, positioned himself well and smashed a powerful low drive against the foot of the post. He was, however, flagged offside.

Varela scored for Cape Verde on 81 minutes, but it looked to matter little as Morocco still held a lead in the other game.

But drama ensued when Heldon scored in stoppage time. Lama, who had been spectacular throughout the night, fumbled the ball and got into the path of the Cape Verde player who thrashed it in to give his side their first ever quarter-final berth in their major outing.

The Blue Sharks qualify alongside hosts Bafana Bafana of South Africa.

Sun 27 January, 2013
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