BY DAN KARELL
African minnows Cape Verde, competing in their first ever African Cup of Nations, stunned the continent with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Angola on Sunday, sealing a place in the knockout round of the competition.
The island nation, with a population of 500,000, scored two goals in the final nine minutes of the match, including one in injury time, to secure a historic victory.
Angola initially took the lead in the 33rd minute after a cross towards goal was deflected by Cape Verde defender Neves into his own net. The Blue Sharks continued to battle, and had numerous chances throughout that were saved by the Angolan goalkeeper Lama, or the stingy Angolan defense.
Finally, after countless chances, Cape Verde tied the game in the 81st minute when defender Fernando Varela headed home from two yards out off a corner kick. The Blue Shark’s fate was sealed when substitute Heldon dispatched a botched clearence into the back of the net, setting off massive celebrations on the pitch.
Cape Verde’s next match will be against winner of Group B this Saturday.
Here are some other stories to get your Monday started:
MERSEYSIDE CLUBS SIGN NEW MIDFIELDERS
On Saturday evening, Liverpool FC have reportedly agreed to a fee of £8.5 million for the transfer of young midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan. The 20-year-old Brazilian has not lived up to the hype that was bestowed on him when he joined Inter in 2008, but if the deal goes through, he’ll have a fresh slate to work with.
If completed, Coutinho will join Daniel Sturridge as the second signing of the January transfer window for Liverpool. Coutinho has scored two goals in 12 appearances for Inter in all competitions this season, mostly off the bench.
Meanwhile, next door to Anfield, Everton FC have agreed to a £7 million transfer on Monday for Leroy Fer of FC Twente of Holland’s Eredivisie. Twente are coached by Englishman Steve McClaren, back for his second spell with the club.
Fer, 23-years-old, is set to arrive at Goodison Park this week for a medical, and to complete the transfer. The Dutchman has scored nine goals in 14 appearances for Twente in all competitions.
ANELKA RETURNS TO EUROPEAN FOOTBALL
For at least the next five months, Nicolas Anelka will be playing in Europe, after joining Italian leaders Juventus on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in China.
The 33-year-old forward is joining his 10th new team since 1996, when he came up through the ranks at Paris Saint-Germain. Now, he’ll be providing cover for Juventus’ attacking force that includes Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Matri, and Fabio Quagliarella.
The Frenchman scored just three goals in 22 games last season for Shanghai.
COLOMBIA AND PARAGUAY QUALIFY FOR U-20 WORLD CUP
Both Colombia and Paraguay recorded 1-0 wins yesterday, over Chile and Ecuador, respectively, which ensured their qualification to the 2013 U-20 World Cup, which will take place this summer in Turkey.
Colombia, who currently leads the final stage with nine points from three games, only needed an 18th minute penalty kick goal from midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero, while the Paraguayan forward Juan Villamayor scored the game-winner in the 86th minute.
Uruguay, who now sit in third, also recorded a 1-0 win over Chile, with the lone goal coming from forward Gonzalo Bueno.
With two games to go, there are still two spots open for qualification to the U-20 World Cup, and all four remaining teams have a chance of qualifying, which should make the final week of action one to watch.
Costa Rica defeated Honduras last night by a score of 1-0, to take the crown of the Copa Centroamericana. (REPORT)
Galatasaray, who just signed Wesley Sneijder, have made a formal offer to sign Didier Drogba. (REPORT)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick this past weekend for Real Madrid was his 20th since moving to the club. (REPORT)
Barcelona have re-signed midfielder Xavi Hernandez to a contract extention through 2016. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you think Cape Verde can stay alive in the AFCON? Do you see Philippe Coutinho having success in Brendan Rodgers system? Does Nicolas Anelka have anything left in the tank?
Share your thoughts below.