Roberto Lopes impresses for Cape Verde.
Roberto Lopes and his Cape Verde teammates suffered their first defeat at the African Cup of Nations on Thursday, going down 1-0 to Burkina Faso.
A victory for the islanders would have seen them qualify for the knockout stages but an unorthodox first half goal from Hassane Bande gave Burkina Faso the win, as the forward appeared to chest the ball into the net from close range.
Hassane Bandé scores with a diving chest for Burkina Faso, assisted by Man City youngster Issa Kaboré! ⚽ pic.twitter.com/On9vLp6LMK
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 13, 2022
Cape Verde suffer defeat.
The result leaves both nations tied on three points in AFCON Group A, with hosts Cameroon already qualified having picked up two wins from their opening two games.
It’s certainly not the end of the road for Cape Verde and Shamrock Rovers defender Lopes, as the four best third-place teams will progress to the knockout stages, and with Cameroon having nothing to play for when the sides meet on Monday, they may just have their foot off the gas.
Despite Thursday’s defeat, Dublin native Lopes can hold his head high, having performed admirably at the heart of the Cape Verde defence throughout the 90 minutes.
Roberto Lopes stats.
The 29-year-old registered a higher passing accuracy percentage than any other player on the pitch with 93.8%, while only experienced teammate Stopira (55) completed more passes overall than the man nicknamed ‘Pico’ (48).
As well as that, Lopes made six interceptions, again more than any other player on the pitch, and also topped the blocked shots rankings, getting himself in the way on three occasions throughout the game.
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 13, 2022
Dubliner performing on big stage.
Lopes’ performance followed on from another solid display on Sunday when Cape Verde overcame Ethiopia 1-0. On that occasion, he completed an 82% successful passing rate, and also won three duels.
Whatever happens on Monday, Lopes will be able to say that he has performed well on the big stage, with AFCON 2021 being his first taste of a major international tournament.
That said, he won’t be planning on coming home to Dublin just yet.