Süper Lig Winger Causes AFCON Upset

Ankaragücü winger Garry Rodrigues bagged a late winner for Cape Verde as they caused a shock in the first round of games at this year’s African Cup of Nations.

The Blue Sharks seemed to have been handed a tough draw, with Egypt and Mozambique to come in their group. A big start against Chris Hughton’s Ghana was needed, and whilst once upon a time it could have been deemed a huge upset, the fading Black Stars are now ranked 61st in the world by FIFA, down from a high of 14. That’s just nine places above Bubista’s Cape Verde.

Ghana were still expected to start well, with Premier League players such as Jordan Ayew and Mohammad Kudos peppered throughout their side. However, Rodrigues, born in the Netherlands, had a hand in his side’s early opener. His shot was parried by keeper Richard Ofori, but it fell nicely for San Jose Earthquake’s Jamiro Monteiro to net from close range.

Anderlecht midfielder Majeed Ashimeru thought he’d equalised for Ghana, only for VAR to rule out the goal before another Turkey-based player did restore parity. Alexander Djiku nodded home Ayew’s corner, and it looked to be a matter of time before Ghana, four-time winners of the AFCON, went ahead.

Instead, it was Cape Verde who snatched the winner. They have only qualified for the tournament four times, but they grabbed a dramatic 92nd-minute goal. Estoril’s Gilson Tavares, currently playing for Benfica B, touched the ball into Rodrigues’ path, and the former Levski Sofia man to score a winner.

The 33-year-old, who has won titles in Greece and Turkey, was pictured in tears at the end of the game; such was the magnitude of the victory. Whilst only a handful of places separate the two nations in FIFA’s rankings, Cape Verde were once ranked 182nd. However, victory in their next game against Mozambique will almost certainly ensure them a place in the next round of the competition.

Site Opinion

Garry Rodrigues has had a strong career across Europe, turning out for Olympiacos, Galatasaray, and PAOK. This was his eighth international goal in 48 outings and likely the most memorable of his career.

European audiences will be aware of the likes of Ghana, Nigeria, and Egypt as powerhouses of Africa, but for years, Cape Verde has been no more than a honeymoon destination.

Rodrigues’s goal is likely to alter perceptions of the island nation, and with him being 33, it adds some additional glamour to an already stellar career in Europe.



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