[WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Weekend] Cape Verde Islands completed one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of World Cup qualifying as it joined nine other teams in Africa's final round with a 2-0 win at Tunisia. The Blue Sharks had been eliminated before the fifth day of group play with four straight losses, but it was later awarded both games against Equatorial Guinea by forfeit and wins over Sierra Leone and Tunisia allowed them to make up 10 points.
Nhuck scored to lead the Cape Verdeans to the win in Rades.
With his team seemingly through to the next round, Tunisian star Saber Khalifa
picked up a second yellow card in his team's last game in June, meaning he'd have to sit out what Tunisia thought would be a meaningless game against Cape Verde Islands but his slate would be cleared
for the final round of Africa qualifying. Instead, it meant he was ineligible for Saturday's deciding game.
Equatorial Guinea forfeited both wins over Cape Verde Islands because
Spanish-born forward Emilio Nsue was ineligible.
The draw for the final round of African qualifying will be held Sept 16 in Cairo. The teams will
be paired in two-leg series with the five winners going to the World Cup. The seeding is based on the most recent FIFA rankings.
Cape Verde Islands
Africa Unseeded Teams:
Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia reached the playoffs Saturday, while Tunisia crashed out after being shocked at home
by Cape Verde. The North Africans' World Cup dream disappeared at the very end of the main qualifying competition with a painful 2-0 loss in Rades, and the Cape Verdeans continued their breakthrough
year after playing in their first African Cup.
Burkina Faso also kept its hopes of playing in Brazil alive by beating Gabon and overtaking Republic of Congo on the final matchday. Ivory
Coast, Egypt and Algeria had already won their groups before the weekend's games. Ghana progressed on Friday.
The top five teams in FIFA's rankings on Sept. 12 will be seeded in the draw
for the playoff ties and can't meet. Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Cape Verde are currently the highest ranked countries in the playoffs.
Cape Verde, Ethiopia make playoffs
07 September 2013, 22:59
Cape Verde Islands shocked Tunisia 2-0 in Rades Saturday to reach the Africa zone play-offs in
the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition.
Platini and Nhuck – two of many Cape Verdean footballers who use nicknames – scored in the first half to trigger celebrations in the
islands state of 500 000 inhabitants.
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 quarterfinalists 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 Equatoguineans and Sierra Leone brought the Cape Verdeans back into contention – but they had to win in Tunisia.
The 'Carthage Eagles' were favoured to
qualify for the play-off series as they had home advantage and the confidence boost of a 2-1 win in Praia.
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But goals from Cyprus-based
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.
Bottom Group A seeds Ethiopia came from behind to edge 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
Torres starts for Tigres before heading to Columbus
[AMERICANS ABROAD] MLS isn't the only league that played through the FIFA fixture weekend. In Liga MX, Jose Torres started for Tigres in its
3-3 draw with Guadalajara before heading off as an emergency call-up for the U.S. national team's game Tuesday against Mexico in Columbus.
Corona dressed but did not play for Tijuana on Saturday. Greg Garza started and Paul Arriola came off the bench
for Xolos in their 3-0 win over Veracruz that left them 10th in the Torneo Apertura with a game in hand.
Texan Justin Perez, a 21-year-old
goalkeeper, dressed for the first time for time in Monterrey's 1-0 loss at Club America.
Tymrak debuts for Bayern
Erika Tymrak, the NWSL Rookie of the Year who debuted for the USA last week, make her first appearance for German club Bayern Munich Saturday in its 1-1 tie
with defending German and European champion Wolfsburg before 8,249 fans in Wolfsburg.
Tymrak came on for the last 20 minutes of the season opener. Three other Americans started -- Nikki Cross, Amber Brooks and Sarah Hagen -- for Bayern.
-- Christen Press scored a hat trick in Tyreso's 8-0 at Sunnana on Tuesday to give her 19 goals in 15 games in Sweden's Damallsvenskan. Tyreso, which also started Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Meghan Klingenberg, still trails Malmo by two
-- Lindsey Horan had her first goal of the season for Paris St. Germain Sunday in its 4-0 win over AS Muret. French international Laura Georges, who played at Boston College, had two goals for PSG.
WOMEN'S UCL. It will be an American affair when
Tyreso and PSG meet in the round of 32 of the UEFA Women's Champions League in October. A fifth U.S. international, Whitney Engen, will join Tyreso after her
season with Liverpool Ladies ends. Tobin Heath has returned for a second season at PSG.