Wakaso brace sends Ghana into Africa Cup of Nations semis
Ghana put an end to Cape Verde’s fairytale story at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after substitute Mubarak Wakaso bagged a second-half brace to book Black Stars’ semi-final with a 2-0 win in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Spain-based midfielder came off the bench to convert a penalty after Asamoah Gyan was brought down in the box, before sealing the victory late in the game thanks to a swift counter-attack.
Cape Verde’s debut experience had so far been a fairytale, seeing them table topping both Morocco and Angola to reach the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations.
However, their progression meant that they were going to be thrown into the deep end when they had to take to the field against tournament favourites and Group B’s winner Ghana.
Following cautious starts to their matches in Group A, the Cape Verde side got this game underway with some vigour, in the opening eight minutes, seeing Babanco fire his effort from distance wide.
Twenty minutes in and neither side were producing any form of a decent effort at goal, with Heldon’s shot from outside the D firing over the angular of the frame.
The Black Stars were looking out of sorts when Cape Verde threatened again, this time ten minutes later, when Julio Tavares supplied a cross into the box.
Fatau Dauda did well to dive off his line and gather the ball off the feet of the onrushing Marco Soares.
A nervy moment in Ghana’s defence left the Ghanaians’ hearts in a standstill when Isaac Vorsah tried to sheppard a ball back to his ’keeper by trying to throw himself in between the ball and Ryan Mendes.
In the end, the Cape Verde striker’s patience wore thin and he shoved Vorsah in the back; committing a foul just minutes from the break.
Kwesi Appiah started the game with the same line-up he started with but just a minute into the second period he opted to bring on Mubarak Wakaso in place of Alberto Adomah.
There was more urgency in Ghana’s play and they saw themselves earn a penalty when Asamoah Gyan was brought down in the box by Carlitos, 53 minutes in.
With Gyan’s penalty taking history in the African Cup Nations not favouring him, Wakaso stood up to take the spot-kick and he did with ease by blasting it down the middle of the goal.
A threatening response was immediate from the debutants and they threatened with a long range effort into the box, forcing John Pantsil to make an acrobatic bicycle clearance.
In the 73rd minute Babanco took an effort from outside the D, and like some of their previous attempts, the shooting went astray and failed to hit the target.
Poor finishing had been highlighted as a negative factor dominating the tournament and it continued throughout the fixture with Babanco and Wakaso both seeing their efforts in the final 15 minutes fail to hit the target.
And despite their dominating play, Cape Verde’s efforts sadly proved to be unfruitful as they bowed out of the tournament with their heads held high after Ghana added a second goal in stoppage time.
The opportunity arose from a corner kick for Cape Verde, with Vorzinha up field to help find the back of the net, but the Ghanaian’s pounced on a counter which saw Wakaso make a run up the field and slot the ball into an empty net.
Ghana (0) 2 (Wakaso 53’ 90+4’) Cape Verde 0