2014 World Cup: Cape Verde stun Tunisia in World Cup

‘BLUE SHARKS’ TASTE SUCCESS::Cape Verde completed a remarkable comeback after failing to gain a point in their first three games, but South Africa were not so fortunate


Mon, Sep 09, 2013 - Page 19

Cape Verde Islands shocked Tunisia 2-0 in Rades on Saturday to reach the Africa zone play-offs in the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition.

Platini and Nhuck — two of many Cape Verdean players who are known by their nicknames — scored in the first half to trigger celebrations in the archipelago of 500,000 people.

Victory lifted the “Blue Sharks” to 12 points, one more than four-time World Cup qualifiers Tunisia, and completed a remarkable Group B comeback.

The surprise 2013 Africa Cup quarter-finalists were pointless after three rounds, then FIFA changed a loss in Malabo to a 3-0 win because of an ineligible Equatorial Guinea player.

Home victories against the Equatorial Guineans and Sierra Leone brought the Cape Verdeans back into contention — but they had to win in Tunisia.

The “Carthage Eagles” were favored to qualify for the play-off series as they had home advantage and the confidence boost of a 2-1 win in Praia.

However, goals from Platini and Portugal-based Nhuck rocked the Tunisians, whose second-half pressure went unrewarded.

Tunisia were not the only big name to fall — 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa bit the dust despite a 4-1 win over Botswana in Durban.

Ethiopia came from behind to edge the Central African Republic 2-1 in Congo and finish two points ahead of Bafana Bafana (The Boys).

Burkina Faso completed an amazing Group E comeback by defeating Gabon 1-0 in Ouagadougou and pipping Congo Brazzaville.

The “Stallions” trailed the “Red Devils” by six points with three rounds to go, but three consecutive victories squeezed them through.

Nigeria were another country to progress, scoring late in the first half and early in the second in Group F to defeat 10-man Malawi 2-0 in Calabar.

Sadio Mane netted six minutes from time as Senegal defeated Uganda 1-0 in a scrappy Group J match played in neutral Marrakech to also make the play-offs.

Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Nigeria join Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Ghana in the final elimination round.

The winners of yesterday’s match between Cameroon and Libya complete the 10-nation line-up.

A seeded Sep. 16 draw in Cairo, based on FIFA rankings to be released on Thursday, will create five two-leg ties with the winners going to the finals in Brazil.

Ethiopia recovered from conceding a mid-first half goal with Salahdin Ahmed leveling soon after the break and Minyahel Teshome scoring the match-winner.

Success was particularly sweet for Teshome as he cost Ethiopia three points by playing in an away victory over Botswana when suspended.

South Africa dominated neighbors Botswana almost throughout and a late brace from Bernard Parker completed what proved a futile win.

Prejuce Nakoulma was the toast of 2013 Africa Cup runners-up Burkina Faso, scoring nine minutes into the second half.

Congo needed a victory in Niger to stay top, but trailed twice to goals from Mahamane Cisse and Daouda Kamilou and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Emmanuel Emenike put Nigeria ahead in first-half stoppage time and Victor Moses doubled the lead from a 51st-minute penalty.

Any hope Malawi had of clawing back into the game vanished soon after when Limbikani Mzava was red carded following a second caution.

Ivory Coast and Morocco drew 1-1, Gambia beat Tanzania 2-0, Sierra Leone edged Equatorial Guinea 3-2 and Angola thrashed Liberia 4-1 in other games.