Cape Verde drops Ethiopia to 10 in surprise Africa Cup of Nations

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Julio Tavares scored the game-winning goal as Cape Verde started their Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) campaign with a surprise 1-0 victory on Sunday over Ethiopia, who played most of the game with 10 men.

The Saudi Arabia-based striker led Cape Verde into the lead in the first-half stoppage in Yaoundé after Ethiopian defender Yared Bayeh was sent off with just 12 minutes remaining.

Cape Verde, whose three Nations Cup appearances have taken place since 2013, have only won the tournament for the second time and are tied on points with Cameroon at the top of Group A.

Ethiopia was seen as an away bet to perform well at this year’s CAN, having benefited from a strong surge of investment in their football infrastructure in recent years, spurred on by their ambitious manager Wubetu Abate.

But they faced an increasingly difficult challenge after Bayeh’s yellow card was outscored to red following a VAR review for his tackle on Tavares as the Cape Verdean player advanced on goal.

Teklemariam Shanko made a superb save to recover the ball to safety after Ethiopian defender Mignot Debebe deflected a cross towards his own goal.

Cape Verde made their extra man count at the end of the first half as Garry Rodrigues snagged a cross towards the goal where he was nodded at close range by Tavares.

An inspired Shanko kept Ethiopia in the game with a series of saves, but they created few attacks to trouble Cape Verde and already appear poised for a quick exit with matches to come against Cameroon and the Burkina Faso.

(AXADLETM with AFP)

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