Three days’ worth of action came to an emphatic climax on Sunday evening, with South Africa and Cape Verde qualifying for the quarter finals. Ivory Coast also sealed its place in the quarters, while Algeria crashed out. ANT SIMS wraps up the action from the weekend.
WHO PLAYED AND WHAT HAPPENED?
With three days’ worth of action to catch up on, we’ll try and keep it brief. A team was eliminated, a goalkeeper scored a penalty, and goalposts had to be replaced in a match which had 13 minutes of extra time added as a result.
On Friday, Burkina Faso hammered Ethiopia 4-0, despite only having ten men on the pitch by the time the final whistle sounded. The Burkina Faso goalkeeper, however, handled the ball out of his area and was sent off. That didn’t stop their charge, though, and Burkina Faso went on to record a resounding win. Zambia and Nigeria recorded a 1-1 draw, with Victor Moses missing a penalty early on and Zambia’s goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene, scoring a penalty in the 85th minute. It’s not that surprising, though; he also scored a penalty in last year’s final and often does so for his club, Free State stars.
Saturday saw Ivory Coast qualify for the quarter finals after beating Tunisia 3-0, even without Didier Drogba in the starting line-up. He did come on to play his part in the 67th minute, though, with Ivory Coast already 1-0 up thanks to a wonderful strike by Gervinho in the 21st minute. Ivory Coast scored two more goals in added time to ensure their place in the quarter finals.
Togo thumped Algeria 2-0 in a match where the goalposts had to be replaced. Algerian Adlène Guedioura knocked into the back of the net, shifting the goalposts. After a big old kerfuffle in trying to get the posts back up, it was decided that it was probably better to just replace the whole thing.
Sunday had hosts South Africa up against Morocco, while Cape Verde took on Angola. Bafana got off to a terrible start and went a goal down early on after looking out of their depth for most of the first few minutes of the match. Angola took the lead against Cape Verde early on too, with the two matches being played at the same time to avoid any sort of fixing or attempts to throw group places. It took until the 71st minute before South Africa found some magic through May Mahlangu, who curled a peach of a goal into the top corner. Cape Verde then equalised against Angola in the 81st minute, with Morocco regaining their lead just a minute later. Pulsating and confusing stuff, kind of like when the South African cricket team gets stuck with a Duckworth Lewis sheet. Siyabonga Sangweni then pulled it back for South Africa in the 86th minute and a nation exhaled briefly before holding their breath again for what was a very nervous closing minute. Just to make sure everybody stayed glued to their screens, Cape Verde scored against Angola in the 90th minute. Cape Verde’s final whistle blew before South Africa and Angola finished their match, though, and there was some stellar acting and time-wasting from both sides’ keepers, but it ended all square.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN CONTEXT?
Ethiopia is all but out in Group C, while Burkina Faso needs just a draw in its final match in order to progress. Nigeria and Zambia can also still qualify, but it’s not a simple scenario (and this guide is for dummies, so we’ll just skip that bit).
In Group D, Algeria is on its way home and Ivory Coast has qualified. Tunisia and Togo both sit on three points, meaning the battle for second place is on.
In Group A, South Africa and Cape Verde qualify. Cape Verde’s coach, an air traffic controller in his day job, celebrated in emphatic fashion, running all over the pitch flying his country’s flag while Bafana gathered in a huddle – with Gordon Igesund, in his ever-animated style, sharing some words. South Africa tops the group, which means Bafana will play the runner-up of Group B – most likely to be Mali, while Cape Verde will clash with Ghana.
“We weren’t expecting this result, but anything can happen in football. I believe we still have a chance of qualifying.” Ethiopia coach, Sewnet Bishaw.
“Why didn’t I play Didier Drogba? Because it seemed to me that the 11 players I picked were the best to overcome this good Tunisian side. My first satisfaction comes from the victory and the second from the content. We really entered this competition today. We caused a lot of problems for this very good Tunisian team and were never really threatened at any point.” Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi.
Burkina Faso’s win was their first victory in Afcon in 22 games. The last time they won was in 1998, on home turf, when they went on to make the semi-finals. DM
Photo: South African soccer fans wave the flags of Cape Verde and Morocco during their African Nations (AFCON 2013) Cup Group A soccer match in Durban January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
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