Lopes and Cape Verde fall short to Burkina Faso in AFCON group stages
Crumlin’s Roberto Lopes and Cape Verde suffered a set-back at the Africa Cup Of Nations last night as they fell to a 1-0 Group A defeat against Burkina Faso at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé.
Courtesy of a 39th-minute goal from Boureima Bandé, Kamou Malo’s side came away with all three points to keep their own hopes of reaching the competition’s knockout stages alive.
Following this set-back, Cape Verde have dropped down to third in the group table – just behind Burkina Faso in the head-to-head stakes. This doesn’t necessarily leave them in a perilous position, given four of the six teams that finish third in the preliminary phase of the Cup will make it into the Round of 16.
As it stands, Cape Verde are currently the best ranked third-place team in the tournament – albeit they are the only side in this bracket to have played two games.
Next up for Lopes and company is a final group assignment against host nation Cameroon on Monday. Thanks in no small part to the superb form of striker Vincent Aboubakar, their forthcoming opponents are already guaranteed a spot in the knockout rounds.
Playing in a back-three alongside Steven Fortès and Dylan Tavares – a role he is readily accustomed to at his club Shamrock Rovers – Lopes played the full 90 minutes for the second time in the tournament.
It was Burkina Faso who had the first sight of goal on four minutes when Gustavo Sangare’s right-footed shot was saved by Cape Verde netminder Josimar Dias.
Dias also turned away an Edmond Tapsoba effort, while Kenny Rocha Santos tested the resolve of Burkina Faso’s Hervé Koffi.
In spite of some early goalmouth action, it seemed likely that – like Cape Verde’s 1-0 opening day win over Ethiopia – this was going to be a tight affair. Their match-winner in that game, Júlio Tavares was close to a breakthrough on the half-hour mark only for Koffi to come to Burkina Faso’s rescue.
This proved to be a pivotal moment in the game with Bandé subsequently getting his name on the scoresheet with six minutes remaining in the opening period.
A 1-0 interval deficit certainly wasn’t insurmountable from a Cape Verde point of view and team captain Ianique Tavares headed over the target in the second half. Likewise, Burkina Faso had a golden opportunity for a second goal, but Mohamed Konate couldn’t add to their account.
The 2013 runners-up held firm for a precious success, however, and have left qualification from Group A wide open heading into next week’s decisive round of fixtures.