2023 AFCON: Cape Verde v Mauritania preview

2023 AFCON: Cape Verde v Mauritania preview
Ryan Isaac Da Graça Mendes of Cape Verde celebrates victory during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations match between Ghana and Cape Verde at Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 14 January 2024 ©Weam Mostafa/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Sunday Jan 28, 2024. 10:00

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will continue with a Round of 16 match between Cape Verde and Mauritania at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

Date: Monday 29 January 2024

Kick-off: 19h00 CAT

Head-to-head: Cape Verde and Mauritania have met in 11 matches dating back as far as 1982. The Blue Sharks have claimed five wins compared to three for the Lions of Chinguetti, while three games have been drawn. The teams last met in August 2019 in the qualifiers for the African Nations Championship, with Mauritania winning 2-1 at home.

Cape Verde’s last three results: Cape Verde have been the revelation of the AFCON thus far, topping Group B ahead of Egypt, Ghana and Mozambique. The Blue Sharks opened with a stunning 2-1 win over the Black Stars and then became the first team to secure a knockout berth when they crushed Mozambique 3-0. Finally, a 2-2 draw with Egypt in which they fought back to end unbeaten speaks to the spirit and determination of these so-called ‘minnows’.

Mauritania’s last three results: Mauritania appeared to be heading out of the tournament, having lost their opening two Group D matches against Burkina Faso (0-1) and Angola (2-3). However, they pulled off the biggest shock of the tournament thus far with a 1-0 win over former champions Algeria, with Dellahi Yali’s first-half strike proving enough to not only down the Fennec Foxes, but also send the Lions of Chinguetti into the AFCON knockout rounds for the first time.

Team news: Neither team has any notable injury concerns nor suspensions, allowing the coaches to pick similar line-ups to their final group games.

Key players, Cape Verde: The Blue Sharks offer a threat from all over the field, but the fairytale story is that of Bebe, the former Manchester United winger/attacking midfielder who scored an extraordinary goal against Mozambique and will be hungry to continue his momentum in this tournament.

Key players, Mauritania: Dellahi Yali may have scored the all-important goal that sent his team to this stage of the competition, but the Lions of Chinguetti’s real hero was goalkeeper Babacar Niasse – and a knockout game (with the potential of a penalty shootout) could give him another opportunity to shine.

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