Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Breaking Down Day 13 Quarterfinal Matches

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIFebruary 1, 2013

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 23: Siyabonga Sangweni of South Africa during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Angola at Moses Mahbida Stadium on January 23, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Getty Images)
Steve Haag/Getty Images

With group play over, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations is heading into the quarterfinals. Starting things off are the Day 13 matchups pitting Ghana vs. Cape Verde and South Africa vs. Mali.

Both games feature some exciting storylines.

Having won their groups, Ghana and South Africa have some of the best talent in the tournament. Both can be considered favorites to win it all.

First, though, they will have to get through opponents Cape Verde and Mali, who have upset potential written all over them.

With such great matches on tap, here is a breakdown of both the quarterfinal bouts heading into Saturday.



Ghana vs. Cape Verde

Ghana has some of the best talent in the tournament, and it has had no problems showing it off. The Black Stars easily took Group B with seven points, finishing with two wins and a draw.

Ghana is second in goals scored during the tournament with six and is tied with three other teams for best goal differential at plus-four.

The Black Stars have been great at distributing the ball, with six different players notching goals so far.

Leading the attack is Ghana's star combination of forward Asamoah Gyan and midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, both of whom have a goal.

Cape Verde has played hard to get to this point, registering five points with a win and two draws, including a 0-0 match with Group A-leading South Africa.

The Blue Sharks have played great defense up to this point, allowing just two goals in group play.

But Cape Verde has yet to face an opponent with as much attacking savvy as Ghana, and it will have a tough time overcoming such a difference in talent.



South Africa vs. Mali

South Africa enters this match the home team after a solid stretch in Group A. It took its group with five points, spanning a win and two draws.

The Bafana Bafana started the tournament strong, posting two clean sheets. They also have an offense that has come alive of late, scoring four goals in their last two matches.

Forward Siyabonga Sangweni has led the charge with two goals, but South Africa's talented defenders have been even more instrumental.

Still, South Africa faces a tough challenge in trying to shut down Mali.

The Eagles came out of Group B with five points. They are 1-1-1 so far in AFCON play and hoping to pull off an upset in the quarterfinals.

Mali finished third in last year's tournament, and it is hoping for the same success this year.

The Eagles have one of the best midfields in the tournament, led by veteran Seydou Keita who has one of Mali's two goals.

This is a great matchup and sure to be one of the more even quarterfinal fixtures.