Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Heldon seals Cape Verde’s quarter-final place
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Heldon’s dramatic late winner against Angola sends Cape Verde through to the last eight
Heldon’s dramatic late winner against Angola sent Cape Verde through to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals, while the Palancas Negras are eliminated from Group A.
The Maritimo striker smashed home after Fernando Varela had equalised ten minutes earlier in response to a first-half Nando own goal.
Luis Platini – Cape Verde’s first-ever Afcon goal-scorer – looked busy in the opening minutes and fed through Ryan Mendes, only for the Lille striker to curl high over the bar.
The game was stopped for several minutes when a bloodied Amaro fell to the ground from the outsretched elbow of Julio Tavares.
Soon after, ex-Manchester United man Manucho started to cause havoc among the Blue Sharks’ defence, leaving goalkeeper Vozinha flat-footed as his header whistled inches past the post.
After a bright start, both teams were cancelling each other out until Amaro’s tantalising cross ricocheted off Cape Verde captain Nando – under pressure from Mateus – and into the net.
Angola’s first goal of the tournament sparked the islanders into action as Tavares nearly levelled the scores when he flashed a header wide.
And Babanco kept the pressure on after forcing Palancas Negras goalkeeper Lama into pawing a vicious shot away from the top corner.
Cape Verde attacked the second-half with fresh purpose and a wicked corner led to two heroic goal-line clearances from Dias as Angola hung on.
Then Manucho – awakening from his slumber – bustled through the Blue Sharks backline for his strike to cannon back off the post and to be flagged offside.
News of a Bafana Bafana equaliser meant it was all to play for and within the last quarter-hour, Manucho again went close with a header which could have sealed the win.
However, the smallest ever Afcon competitors pegged Angola’s lead back in the 81st minute as confusion from Gege’s corner allowed Varela to steal in with a header.
And it was double delight as Heldon smashed home in injury-time following poor goalkeeping from Lama to send Cape Verde into raptures.
The islanders will face Group B’s winner next Saturday, with Ghana, Mali, DR Congo and Niger all set to battle it out for top spot on Monday.