Soccer Digest, February 4, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 3:30am


Hosts South Africa stunned by Mali as Ghana beat Cape Verde

Mali played party poopers in the Cup of Nations quarter-finals for the second time within a year as they defeated hosts South Africa 3-1 on penalties. "My boys lost with dignity, pride and passion," said South Africa coach Gordon Igesund. "There is only so much any coach can ask from his team and my boys gave everything they had. It is very difficult to accept defeat when you play so well." Meanwhile, Cape Verde said the refereeing was not fair during their 2-0 loss to Ghana. "They [the organisers] would want to see Ghana move into the semi-finals or do you want 200 spectators to watch Cape Verde against Togo?" said coach Lucio Antunes. Mali face Ivory Coast or Nigeria for a final place, Ghana play Burkina Faso or Togo. AFP


McCoist blames lazy Rangers defence for Scottish Cup rout

Rangers boss Ally McCoist says it was his side's slack defending and not lack of support which led to their Scottish Cup exit, a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at the hands of Dundee United. Fans boycotted the game in response to United's opposition to the Ibrox club's application last summer to take over the Scottish Premier League place Rangers lost when the club were transferred to a new company. "It was a terrible start for us and we didn't defend very well for the second goal either allowing a free header to Dundee United," said McCoist. The win was a dream start for new manager Jackie McNamara. "I thought it was a fantastic occasion for us and the fans were tremendous," McNamara beamed. AFP


Napoli join Juve at top but coach warns of losing focus

Napoli coach Walter Mazzari warned his side to stay focused after they joined Juventus at the top of Serie A, their highest position at this stage of the season since the great Diego Maradona led them to their last league title 23 years ago. Goals from the impressive Marek Hamsik and Paolo Cannavaro were enough to beat Catania 2-0 and put them level on 49 points with the champions, who travelled to Chievo overnight. "We know league positions are won from battles like tonight's and you can't distract yourself by looking at the table," Mazzari said. "We can't let our guard down. We're still a bit inexperienced. Every now and again we give the opposition a chance to harm us." Reuters


Teen Ngando strikes on debut to earn derby draw for Rennes

Teenager Axel Ngando enjoyed a fairy-tale introduction to top-flight football as his stoppage-time strike handed Rennes a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw at Brittany rivals Lorient. Ngando stabbed home a Jean II Makoun knockdown from close range a minute into injury time to earn Rennes a point. Rennes boss Frederic Antonetti, who was sent to the stands early in the second half by referee Bartolomeu Varela, was critical of the league's decision to appoint a Brittany-based official for the fixture. "To assign a referee with Brittany roots in a derby is a mistake. It's fun at the start, but I know having been at Rennes for almost four years that he inevitably has a preference for one side or another." AFP