Mali, Ghana storm into semifinals

The dreams of hosts South Africa and the tiny Cape Verde Islands came to a shattering halt on Saturday when they were knocked out of the African Nations Cup by Mali and Ghana respectively in the quarterfinals.

Mali, seeking their first Nations Cup title, kept their hopes alive by beating South Africa 3-1 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 at the end of extra time, while Ghana, aiming for a long-awaited fifth crown, beat Cape Verde 2-0.

Cape Verde lost to two Mubarak Wakaso goals in Port Elizabeth. Ghana will meet the winners of Sunday's clash between Togo and Burkina Faso in next Wednesday's semifinal in Nelspruit while Mali will play either tournament favourites Ivory Coast or Nigeria in the last four in Durban.

South Africa, cheered on by a near capacity crowd at the Moses Madhiba Stadium in Durban, took a deserved lead after 31 minutes when Tokelo Rantie's close range shot gave Mali goalkeepoer Soumbeyla Diakite no chance. Mali levelled through leader Seydou Keita powered in a header in the 58th minute but match went into penalties. Siphiwe Tshabalala, struck home the first penalty before Cheick Diabate equalised for Mali.

But Dean Furman missed for hosts before Adama Tamboura made it 2-1 to Mali. May Mahlangu saw his kick saved before Mahamane Traore made it 3-1 to Mali. Lehlohonolo Majoro had to score to keep SA in contention but he blasted his shot wide.

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