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Wuilito Fernandes comes off bench as Cape Verde complete sweep vs. South Africa

Orange County SC forward helps keep island nation’s World Cup hopes alive.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Orange County SC at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Cape Verde have completed a remarkable turnaround in 2018 World Cup qualifying, going from last in their group to first place in less than a week, as they upset South Africa 2-1 in Durban on Tuesday to sweep the 2010 World Cup hosts in this international window.

Of local note, Orange County SC forward Wuilito Fernandes, who started in Cape Verde’s win last week over South Africa in Cape Verde, came off the bench in the final five minutes with the visitors up 2-0 to try and ice the game. Garry Rodrigues scored both of Cape Verde’s goals, and even though South African substitute Andile Jali scored an 89th-minute goal, it wasn’t enough to get a result for the hosts.

The result is that Cape Verde now sit in first place in Group D, pending the outcome of the other game in the group, Burkina Faso vs. Senegal, today. Regardless, Cape Verde won’t finish this international window in first place, but they are in dramatically better circumstances than they were this time last week. The winner of each of the five groups will go to the World Cup in Russia next summer, so it’s an all-or-nothing race to the finish for the teams still involved.

Congratulations to Wuilito for playing his part in his country’s great week, and best of luck to Cape Verde, who have two key games in the next two months to see if they can be unlikely qualifiers to the World Cup.

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