Gyan was adjudged to have been fouled by Carlitos, and Mubarak Wakaso scored the resulting penalty before sealing victory late on.
Ghana boss Kwesi Appiah remarked before the game that he would have preferred facing Ivory Coast than Cape Verde and his side’s nervous start reflected that as they failed to create any clear-cut chances.
On 13 minutes, the ball was knocked down and broke to Heldon but the Cape Verde striker blazed harmlessly over the bar from ten yards.
The Blue Sharks looked dangerous on the counter and Heldon – starting after scoring the winner against Angola to send his side through – came close with a left-foot shot.
The half-time whistle came and the cagey affair was summed up by each side’s solitary bookings being one more than the number of shots on target they registered.
Five minutes after the break Julio Tavares’ angled header sent Dauda sprawling to save as Cape Verde brought on star-man Platini to try and provide a breakthrough.
Immediately after, Ghana captain Gyan burst forward but was shoulder barged by defender Carlitos, but referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn dubiously awarded a penalty.
Wakaso, a half-time replacement for Bristol City’s Albert Adomah, stepped up and smashed the spot-kick down the middle for his second penalty and goal of the tournament.
The goal sparked the game into life and Cape Verde looked for an instant reply but Heldon’s snap-shot was the best in a series of half-chances.
Platini’s deflected drive forced Dauda into a save but the game was stop-start as both sides looked more intent on racking up the fouls than looking for a goal.
With 30 seconds remaining, Heldon’s free-kick forced a corner which keeper Vozinha came up for but the ball broke to Wakaso and he broke Cape Verde hearts by finishing into an empty net to wrap it up.
The result was harsh on Cape Verde but despite their sub-par performance, it is Ghana who will face the victors of tomorrow’s game between Togo and Burkina Faso.
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