Defending champion Zambia failed to progress to the quarterfinal stage of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after recording a 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso in a tense affair on Tuesday.
Nigeria defeated Ethiopia, which meant that the Zambians' draw was not enough for them to progress into the next round of the tournament. It marks the first time since 1992 that a defending champion has failed to make it through to the quarterfinals.
Played in front of a sparse crowd, the match began with two injuries that forced substitutions. The dry, bumpy and dusty pitch made passing a difficult task and seemed to result in the surprise injury of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations top-scorer Alain Traore, who crumpled onto the floor with a knee problem with no players around him in the 8th minute.
David Nkausu was another casualty in the first half, following a strong tackle that resulted in an ankle injury for the player who left the pitch in tears as he was replaced by Joseph Musonda in the 16th minute.
A game which lacked rhythm or momentum was brought back to life immediately after the substitution as Collins Mbesuma seemed destined to score in front of goal after a slick Zambian move down the right flank left the striker with the goal at his mercy. But his left-footed drive went straight into Daudoa Diakite' hands.The second half continued the pattern of the first, with Zambia chasing the game and Burkina Faso looking content to defend its way into the quarterfinals.
The Chipolopolo pushed for a win, though, and Mbesuma came close once more with 30 minutes to go, as he tried to power in a header off a Rainford Kalaba corner kick, but his effort went over the crossbar.
The final 20 minutes were make or break for the Zambians as they would have kept one eye on proceedings in Nigeria’s clash against Ethiopia, which was also resting on 0-0. But Victor Moses was able to find Nigeria’s elusive goal in the 80th minute and a second in the 90th minute, which meant Zambia was facing elimination with little time to go.
The Chipolopolo searched for the winner in desperation but were unable to break Burkina Faso's strong spine in defense and the clash ended in a rather dire draw, meaning Burkina Faso, which may be without Traore, and Nigeria enter into the next round of the tournament out of Group C.
- Sports & Recreation
- Burkina Faso
- 2013 Africa Cup of Nations