It was a strong opening day at AFCON for Cape Verde.
Shamrock Rovers defender Roberto Lopes turned in an assured defensive display for Cape Verde on Sunday evening, recording a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory against Ethiopia.
While Cape Verde won out by a single goal, it was far from a vintage display from the West African outfit. But it mattered little as they ran out winners, beginning their AFCON campaign with a win.
And speaking after the game, Lopes revealed the pride he felt as he secured a big win on his tournament debut in Cameroon.
Roberto Lopes: “I’m absolutely chuffed..”
“I’m absolutely chuffed to play my first game in the African Cup of Nations,” he told Shamrock Rovers’ media team after the game. “It’s a proud moment for me.
“To kick it off with a win, I don’t think we could have had a better start. After the game, there were mixed emotions in the dressing room, because we felt that our performance could have been better.
“But the most important thing was the three points and its great to have them on the board.
— Shamrock Rovers FC ☘️ (@ShamrockRovers) January 10, 2022
“I’ve had loads of support from home and abroad. I had to put my phone on airplane mode about an hour or two before the game. It was hopping every few seconds.
“I’m very grateful for the support.. It makes you feel great with all the support I’m getting.”
During the game itself, Lopes turned in a solid display, with an 82% successful passing rate, and also won three duels.
Seven of his 12 long balls also came off, while he also racked up five interceptions during the game.
Roberto Lopes, of @ShamrockRovers, in the African Cup of Nations for Cape Verde vs Ethiopia:
Clean Sheet ❌
82% of his passes complete 👀
7/12 long balls complete ⚽️
3 duels won 🏆
2 aerial duels won 🥇
2 interceptions 💪🏻
5 recoveries 🏃
Made in the League of Ireland 🇮🇪🇨🇻 pic.twitter.com/uLR67FKccK
— IP🇮🇪 (@IrishPropaganda) January 9, 2022
Next up for Cape Verde, however, is a stiff test against tournament dark horses Burkina Faso, but a win would all but secure their place in the knockout phase of the competition.