Group F in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying only featured one goal between two games but an own goal was all Cape Verde needed to clinch their 1-0 road victory over Mozambique and book a ticket to the AFCON finals. Captain Marco Soares’ free-kick delivery from out wide was flicked into his own net by Mozambique player Faisal Bangal in a match where only a draw was necessary for Cape Verde to accomplish their mission. In the other game Rwanda fought valiantly against a Cameroon side with qualification already secured but could only get a 0-0 draw in Douala.
Neither game provided many opportunities as three of the teams involved had one spot to compete for, leading to cautious play. Needing a victory to qualify, hosts Mozambique created the majority of chances against Cape Verde but Blue Sharks goalkeeper Vozinha led his defense well in keeping the Mambas from having clear shots on target. The visitors started to find their way as the match progressed and following an excruciating miss, Cape Verde found their qualification moment. Soares’ in-swinging free kick was flicked on by Bangal at the near post and the Mozambican’s unfortunate header was perfectly placed to beat his own goalkeeper.
Rwanda tried hard to find a goal and pull off a historic upset but Cameroon held off the visitors in an underwhelming scoreless draw at home. The Indomitable Lions lacked chemistry in the low stakes match and failed to put a shot on target. Poor attacking was the theme throughout qualifying for Rwanda and yet another scoreless effort brought their total to one goal from six games. The Amavubi’s efforts to find a goal were further hampered by goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera’s red card for a foul committed outside the penalty area in the 54th minute.
Highlights from Cape Verde’s win are below.