Can Cape Verde continue their fairy tale run against Mauritania?


AFCON 2023 Can Cape Verde continue their fairy tale run against Mauritania?

Festus Chuma 12:30 - 29.01.2024

Cape Verde and Mauritania clash in AFCON Round of 16, both seeking to extend their surprising tournament runs.

Abidjan's Félix Houphouët Boigny stadium stands ready to host a pulsating 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 clash that defies the conventional football narratives.

Two teams, once labeled underdogs, are now in the spotlight having overturned expectations with their thrilling performances.

Cape Verde and Mauritania are set to lock horns in a match that promises not just football but a story of relentless pursuit of glory.

Cape Verde has not just participated but dominated in Group B, standing tall over football giants like Egypt and Ghana.

Their journey, marked by a stunning victory against the Black Stars and a convincing win over Mozambique, demonstrates not just skill but a spirit that refuses to be dampened. Their final group match, a gripping draw against Egypt, epitomizes their campaign: unexpected, bold, and unwavering.

Mauritania, on the other hand, has scripted their own tale of unexpected triumphs despite losses to Burkina Faso and Angola.

However, the narrative took a dramatic turn with their historic victory against Algeria, propelling them into the knockout stages.

Cape Verde coach Bubista, in a display of cautious optimism, praised their next opponents.

"Mauritania is a difficult opponent. This team showed cohesion and quality. Their victory against Algeria is well deserved. They have a solid defense. This is going to be a very tactical encounter and we will have to play our cards well and not falter in the last four," he told CAF Online.

Mauritania coach Amir Abdou, on his part, exuded confidence in his pre-match comments.

"Cape Verde is an attractive team. They score a lot of goals and concede too, which is a loophole we will try to use. I have a competitive group and I know we are capable of anything," he said.

Both teams enter this match without significant injury worries or suspensions, allowing for a continuation of the line-ups that brought them success in the group stages.

For Cape Verde, the spotlight shines on Bebe, the former Manchester United winger, whose stunning goal against Mozambique has been a highlight. His experience and form could be pivotal in this knockout fixture.

Mauritania, while celebrating Yali's crucial goal, owe much of their success to the heroics of goalkeeper Babacar Niasse. His performances, especially in a game that could stretch to penalties, might prove decisive.

Historically, these teams have met 11 times since 1982, with Cape Verde leading with five wins to Mauritania's three, and three matches ending in draws.

Their last encounter in August 2019, a qualifier for the African Nations Championship, saw Mauritania emerge victorious with a 2-1 win and this history adds an intriguing layer to the upcoming match, with both teams familiar with each other's style and strengths. 

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