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Garry Rodrigues breaks Liberian hearts with a sublime long range strike in Accra

Olympiacos winger Garry Rodrigues came on as a substitute and delivered an early candidate for goal of the week in the dying seconds of Cape Verde’s dramatic 2-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory over Liberia in Accra, Ghana on Thursday. Van Dave Harmon gave Liberia the lead at the very end of the first half in stoppage time, but the Blue Sharks recovered brilliantly with an excellent second half performance to peg back early in the period before Rodrigues won the match late on. Cape Verde move into second place in Group C with the road victory and revive their chances of advancing heading into the return fixture at home in Praia.

The early stages featured plenty of attacking intent from both teams but it took time for shots on goal to take place. The first firm opportunity fell Cape Verde’s way when a 28th minute long ball from goalkeeper Vozinha was flicked by striker Julio Tavares into the path of Ryan Mendes. Mendes attempted to touch the ball past the Lone Star keeper but Ashley Williams swiftly rushed out and did excellently to close down and take the ball away from the Al-Nasr forward.

Liberia made a surge at the end of the opening half to find the opener. In the 45th minute, a give away by Cape Verde led to Allen Njie sending forward Kpah Sherman in on goal with a well placed through ball, but Vozinha read the shot well and made it look easy by pushing away Sherman’s shot. However, in the last seconds of stoppage time, a throw in on the right flank found Moussa Sanoh and his low cross found Harmon in the Cape Verdean penalty area, who collected before lashing a shot that deflected past an unfortunate Vozinha for a dream opener just before the halftime whistle.

The misfortune did not deter the Blue Sharks. The insertion of halftime substitute Jamiro Monteiro and adjustment in formation was a brilliant stroke of genius by Cape Verde manager Bubista and brought instant results. Cape Verde dominated the opening stages of the second half and a buildup down the left flank led to a cross that was nodded back by Kenny Rocha Santos into the path of Monteiro who smashed a shot high past a screened Williams to equalize proceedings. Soon after Williams was called into action again to parry a Mendes free kick to keep the match even.

Liberia never really recovered from conceding the equalizer and the last ten minutes saw Cape Verde rewarded for their ambition. In the 82nd minute the Blue Sharks nearly found the winner when a quick free kick sent them attacking down the right flank, where a cross found Mendes who set up Vagner Gonçalves to cut inside past desperate defending before Williams saved his low shot from eight yards out.

Eventually the winner came for Cape Verde in the second minute of stoppage time when Rodrigues collected the ball in midfield before surging forward and unleashing a ripped effort from about thirty yards out. Williams got a hand to the shot but could not keep the ball from going into the goal and the Cape Verde side were sent into ecstasy thanks to the brilliant late winner.

Check out highlights of the match by clicking the link in the button below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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