Ghana into semis as Cape Verde goes out

GERALD IMRAY AP Sports Writer Published:

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) -- Wakaso Mubarak came off the bench to score twice and take Ghana through to the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations with a 2-0 win over Cape Verde on Saturday.

Wakaso hammered home a 54th-minute penalty and then scored into an empty net in injury time after a desperate Cape Verde sent everyone up the other end of the field in search of an equalizer.

The opening goal sparked some life into the tournament's first quarterfinal after a cagey first half, and Cape Verde threatened with a succession of chances after that as Heldon Ramos hit a low shot just wide and Ghana goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda made a string of crucial saves to keep his country ahead.

With Cape Verde desperate, Wakaso broke away in the dying seconds to end the first-timers' still impressive campaign at its first major tournament as the substitute side-footed into an open goal with 'keeper Josimar Dias and his defense scrambling to get back.

Ghana heads for a semifinal against the winner of the Togo-Burkina Faso quarterfinal, having made the last four of the African Cup for the fourth straight time. The Black Stars will continue their search for a first title since 1982.

Wakaso pushed Ghana to the brink of the semis with his second successful penalty of the tournament after Carlos Tavares had bundled Asamoah Gyan over. Wakaso scored down the middle having only entered as a substitute in the 47th.

After that, the Cape Verdeans surged forward time after time in search of the leveler that would prolong an already uplifting campaign at their first Nations Cup, but they couldn't find a way past Ghana's last line as Dauda's stops kept Ghana on track.

Dauda won the man of the match award to reflect a second half when Cape Verde did the vast majority of the attacking but just couldn't find a way past him.

Ramos went close for Cape Verde with his 55th minute shot, which skimmed past the left post. Luis Soares then forced Dauda to stretch out his right hand and deflect a goal-bound effort from the edge of the area away.

Dauda's flying save from Djaniny Semedo in the 82nd was his best as he dived to his right and palmed a powerful shot away with his left hand. He then kept out Ramos' free kick with three minutes of normal time remaining before Wakaso skipped away from a last-second corner and went over 50 meters unchallenged to score in Cape Verdes' unmanned goal.