South Africa lifts itself from depths of despair
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) — South Africa lifted itself from the depths of despair to group leader at the African Cup of Nations as first-timer Cape Verde scaled stunning new heights in a 1-1 draw with former champion Morocco.
Although it couldn't hold on to the lead for a victory that would have shaken up the entire tournament, Cape Verde's second straight draw still resounded on Wednesday and left Morocco in a desperate scrap to qualify for the quarterfinals.
"Chelsea, Manchester, Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona. The players of Cape Verde must go there," coach Lucio Antunes said.
Bafana Bafana earlier dispatched Angola 2-0 for their pressure-relieving and uplifting win and were clear at the top of Group A by the end of the day in a dramatic turnaround after the host team's depressing start.
Luis Soares — the striker who wears 'Platini' on the back of his shirt — chipped in with similar panache to the celebrated Frenchman to give the Cape Verdeans a jaw-dropping lead over Morocco. It put them just over 45 minutes from the biggest upset of this African Cup and the most significant result in their short international football history.
Youssef El Arabi equalized to add a sense of reality to the fairytale start, but Cape Verde was still in contention for the quarterfinals on its major tournament debut — and growing rapidly in confidence.
"We believe that we have a good team. If you compare us with Morocco, we are on the same level," Cape Verde captain Fernando Neves said.
The team from the tiny island nation was also becoming more influential to the other teams' fates in Group A.
Public enemy No. 1 in South Africa after holding the host on opening night, Cape Verde did the home team a major good turn with the Morocco draw and left the yellow-clad, vuvuzela-blowing Bafana Bafana followers even happier at the very end of the fifth day of games.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 43037Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15155Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 9718Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8776Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 8708Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 7875Rock, pop, country acts give talents and time to help Oklahoma tornado victims
- 7675Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena