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AFCON 2023: Cape Verde sets record as first underdog to qualify for AFCON knockout stage

Posted : 19 January 2024

Against all odds, the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde have become the first country to reach the knockout stage of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d'Ivoire.

The Blue Sharks set a record as they secured two straight and convincing wins, gathering six points and scoring five goals.

In the opening match, the Blue Sharks stunned the Black Stars of Ghana, winning 2-1, and then they walloped the Mambas of Mozambique 3-0 in the second match.

These two wins now put Cape Verde in the pole position to emerge as the leader of Group B, ahead of heavyweights such as the seven-time winners, the Pharaohs of Egypt, and the Black Stars of Ghana, heading to the Round of 16 of the AFCON.


AFCON 2023: Cape Verde put 3 past Mozambique, qualify for second round ...

The Blue Sharks achieved the record and became the first to qualify despite still having a match to play.

The trio of Egypt, Ghana, and Mozambique now have all to play for to secure the second position following Cape Verde’s unassailable lead.

The possibility of a third team advancing from the group into the knockout stage is very remote.

The emergence of Cape Verde in Group B of the current edition of the Africa Cup of Nations is a big revelation, as pundits were likely to have picked them from a strong field that includes Egypt and Ghana.

Mozambique, who had earlier fought Egypt to a 2-2 draw, found themselves on the wrong foot as Cape Verde’s Bebe scored a 40-yard free kick to set the tone for the eventual rout.

The Rayo Vallecano forward, once of Manchester United, smashed in a strike that keeper Ernan Siluane should have dealt with better.

Captain Ryan Mendes took advantage of a defensive mistake to double their lead. Kevin Pina then hammered a brilliant strike into the top corner from outside the box to seal the win in Abidjan.



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