Cup holders Zambia failed to progress to the quarter finals after a 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso in a tense affair on Tuesday night.
Nigeria defeated Ethiopia thanks to a penalty kick from Victor Moses which meant that it was the first time since 1992 that a defending champion has failed to make the quarter finals.
Played in front of a sparse crowd the match began with two injuries that enforced substitutions, which meant the opening period was poor as both sides struggled to gain impetus.
The dry, bumpy and dusty pitch made passing a difficult task and seemed to result in the surprise injury of the competition’s top scorer Alain Traore, who suffered a knee problem with no players around him in the eighth minute.
Zambia’s Davies Nkausu suffered an ankle injury in the 16th minute and was replaced by Joseph Musonda.
A game which lacked rhythm or momentum came to life immediately as Collins Mbesuma seemed destined to score after a slick Zambian move down the right flank which left the striker with the goal at his mercy.
But his left-footed drive went straight into Daouda Diakite’s hands and Herve Renard screamed with frustration on the sidelines.
Zambia continued to knock on the door, but Burkina Faso did not budge until they fashioned a chance of their own which Charles Kabore skied into the stands after a rare attack.
In the closing minutes of the half Emmanuel Mbola swung in a ball from the left and found Rainford Kalaba at the back post but his header was straight at.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Zambia chasing the game and Burkina Faso looking to content to defend their way into the quarter-finals.
They even began to resort to time wasting tactics as early as the 55th minute.
The Chipolopolo were not giving up on a win and Mbesuma came close once more with 30 minutes to go, as he tried to power in a header off a Kalaba corner-kick, but his effort went over the bar.
The final 20 minutes were make or break for the Zambians but they were unable to break Burkina Faso’s strong defence and the clash ended 0-0, meaning Burkina Faso and Nigeria progressed.
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