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Cape Verde Islands' Blue Sharks create sensation
January 26th, 2013 11:01PM

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TAGS:  african nations cup

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[AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS] Tiny Cape Verde Islands (population: 500,000) advanced to the quarterfinals in its first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations when it scored two late goals to earn a 2-1 win over Angola and join host South Africa from Group A in the quarterfinals.

Highlights: Cape Verde Islands-Angola

A header from Gege with eight minutes to play tied the score and a goal from substitute Heldon in the first minute of stoppage time gave the win the Blue Sharks needed in the battle of former Portuguese colonies to overtake Morocco, which recorded a 2-2 tie with South Africa, its third straight tie of the competition.

All is starters for the Blue Sharks except goal Vozinha, who plays in Angola, are based in Europe.

Three each play in France and Portugal, two in Cyprus and one each Netherlands and Romania.

One of its midfielders goes by the nickname Platini. He was born in Cape Verde Islands, raised in France and now plays for Santa Clara in the Azores.

Cape Verde Islands coach Lucio Antunes was so happy he started singing at the postgame press conference, belting out a Cape Verde song of joy.

"It is a traditional song," he said. "I dedicate it to all the people at home."

South Africa came back twice in the second half to earn a 2-2 tie with Morocco that sent it through to the semifinals as the group winner.  The Lions of Atlas would have gone through with a win, or a tie -- if the Cape Verde Islands had not won.

-- Ivory Coast was the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals when it beat Tunisia, 3-0, on goals from Gervinho, Yaya Toure and Didier Ya Konan. The win reaffirmed the Elephants' status as the tournament favorite, but it was overshadowed by Coach Sabri Lamouchi's decision to bench star Didier Drogba.

"I'm not the manager and it wasn't my decision," said the 34-year-old Drogba, who came on as a sub for the last 25 minutes. "Don't try to make a big deal out of the fact that I was on the bench because it's not."

Drogba recently left China, where he was playing in Shanghai, and signed with Galatasaray in Turkey.

-- Following Burkina Faso's 4-0 win over Ethiopia during which he was red carded for handling the ball outside the penalty area, goalie Abdoulaye Soulama returned to the team hotel to be told his father had been killed in a car accident back home in Banfora, the capital of Comoe province.

Soulama’s father was on his way to watch the game with his friends when he was killed. Soulama left the team to return home but was expected back for the quarterfinals if the Stallions qualify.

Television viewing: All games are available on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN.

GROUP A
Jan. 19 in Johannesburg
South Africa 0 Cape Verde Islands 0
Angola 0 Morocco 0
Jan. 23 in Durban
South Africa 2 Angola 0
Morocco 1 Cape Verde Islands 1
Jan. 27 in Durban
Morocco 2 South Africa 2
Jan. 27 in Port Elizabeth
Cape Verde Islands 2 Angola 1
Final Standings: South Africa 5 points (4-2); Cape Verde Islands 5 (3-2); Morocco 3; Angola 1.

GROUP B
Jan. 20 in Port Elizabeth
Ghana 2 DR Congo 2
Mali 1 Niger 0
Jan. 24 in Port Elizabeth
Ghana 1 Mali 0
Niger 0 DR Congo 0
Jan. 28 in Port Elizabeth
Niger vs. Ghana
Jan. 28 in Durban
Mali vs. DR Congo
Standings: Ghana 4 points; Mali 3; DR Congo 2; Niger 1.

GROUP C
Jan. 21 in Nelspruit
Zambia 1 Ethiopia 1
Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 1
Jan. 25 in Nelspruit
Zambia 1 Nigeria 1
Burkina Faso 4 Ethiopia 0
Jan. 29 in Nelspruit
Burkina Faso vs. Zambia
Jan. 29 in Rustenburg
Nigeria vs. Ethiopia
Standings: Burkina Faso 4 points; Zambia, Nigeria 2; Ethiopia 1.

GROUP D
Jan. 22 in Rustenburg
Ivory Coast 2 Togo 1
Tunisia 1 Algeria 0
Jan. 26 in Rustenburg
Ivory Coast 3 Tunisia 0
Togo 2 Algeria 0
Jan. 30 in Rustenburg
Algeria vs. Ivory Coast
Jan. 30 in Nelspruit
Tunisia vs. Togo
Standings: Ivory Coast 6 points; Tunisia, Togo 3; Algeria 0.

QUARTERFINALS
Feb. 2 in Durban
South Africa vs. Runner-up Group B
Feb. 2 in Port Elizabeth
Winner Group B vs. Cape Verde Islands
Feb. 3 in Nelspruit
Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D
Feb. 3 in Rustenburg
Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C

SEMIFINALS
Feb. 6 in Durban
Winner Durban vs. Winner Rustenburg
Feb. 6 in Nelspruit
Winner Nelspruit vs. Winner Port Elizabeth

THIRD-PLACE GAME

Feb. 9 in Port Elizabeth

FINAL

Feb. 10 in Johannesburg



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