A late penalty by Ryan Mendes secured Cape Verde’s 1-0 victory over Mauritania, booking their place in the Total TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Monday.
In a tense last-16 clash at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, the two sides were deadlocked at 0-0 as the game ended.
Cape Verde had dominated possession and chances, with Jovane Cabral having a goal disallowed for offside in the opening minutes. But Mauritania’s defence held firm.
As the match wore on, Cape Verde continued to press while Mauritania posed threats on the counterattack. Both passionate fans roared their teams on, but a winner still eluded both.
The breakthrough finally came in the 87th minute when Mauritania keeper Babacar Niasse brought down Gilson Tavares in the box.
Up stepped captain Ryan Mendes to smash home the penalty and make it 1-0.
With the Mourabitounes now forced to chase the game, Cape Verde stood firm to see out a famous victory and advance to the quarter-finals for the second time, where they will face either Morocco or South Africa on Saturday.