Ghana booked their place in the semi-finals of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 victory over Cape Verde Islands in Port Elizabeth. Substitute Mubarak Wakaso bagged both goals in the second half, the first from the penalty spot and the second a finish into an empty net after Cape Verde Islands goalkeeper Josimar Vozinha had gone up for a corner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Ghana were indebted to eccentric goalkeeper Fatau Dauda for a wonderful save in the final 10 minutes that preserved their lead as Cape Verde Islands' impressive debut in the finals of the continental competition came to an end. Next up for the Black Stars is a meeting with Burkina Faso or Togo in the last four.
The first half at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was a dismal affair, with both sets of players going to ground far too easily and the flow of the contest suffering as a consequence. Matters improved after the break and with 54 minutes gone the match finally sparked into life as Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan was brought down by Carlitos with the pair battling for possession in the area and the referee pointed for a penalty.
Wakaso had only been on the pitch for a few minutes after being brought on for the ineffective Albert Adomah, but was handed the responsibility from 12 yards and duly delivered a confident finish straight down the middle of the goal. Cape Verde Islands pushed for an equaliser and forced Dauda to make a couple of decent saves that the showman stopper made look as spectacular as possible.
Dauda to the rescue
But there was nothing exaggerated about the fantastic save he produced in the 82nd minute to deny Heldon's fierce strike, which appeared destined for the top corner - only for Dauda to bring his left hand across to claw the ball away.
Dauda celebrated the save as if he had just won the cup for his country, but at very least it was a moment that appeared to break the resolve of Cape Verde Islands, who were much improved after the break. Dauda was called into action again to save from Elvis Babanco's free-kick in the third of five minutes of stoppage time.
And with seconds remaining Ghana killed the game off as Vozinha went forward for a corner that came to nothing, and Ghana broke quickly to present Wakaso with the chance to slot into the unguarded net.