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Football

Defending champions Zambia crash out

Nigeria score two late penalties to kick Zambia out of the Africa Cup of Nations as Burkina Faso also progress.
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2013 20:35
The Zambia supporters showed more flare and attack than their team against Burkina Faso [AFP]

Defending champion Zambia exited the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday after being held to a 0-0 draw by Burkina Faso, who advanced to the quarterfinals.

With Nigeria beating Ethiopia 2-0 in Rustenburg to advance, a third successive draw was not enough for Zambia to progress.

Burkina Faso sailed through at Zambia's expense, reaching the second round for the first time since they hosted the tournament in 1998 and finishing top of Group C on goal difference.

In a game that was low on quality, Zambia striker Collins Mbesuma missed clear-cut chances either side of the break.

For their part, Burkina Faso knew that a draw was all they needed and were content to flood the midfield and slow down a game that was already held up by a sandy pitch.

Burkina Faso's initial ambition shrunk even further when they lost leading goalscorer Alain Traore to injury in the opening 10 minutes, but Zambia failed to produce the quality required to break their opponents down.

The 2012 heroes looked disillusioned during the match, and relieved for it to be over, with their strikers weak throughout the competition.

Moses to rescue 

Nigeria showed marginally more enthusiasm in their last group game.

Victor Moses converted two late penalties to give Nigeria a place in the quarter-finals.

The Chelsea forward scored the first past Sisay Bancha after 80 minutes and the second past outfield player Addis Hintsa who had to go in goal after the keeper was sent off for bringing down Moses in the box in the 85th.

Ethiopia had already used all three substitutes in their final Group C match and finished with 10 men for the second time in the competition after keeper Jemal Tassew was also dismissed in their opening match with Zambia.

The high drama at the end of the game at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace was in sharp contrast to what had gone before.

Both teams had a chance of qualifying for the last eight but in the first half neither played with much urgency.

Nigeria began to exert their superiority over Ethiopia in the closing stages against the lowest-ranked country (110th) although they rarely looked convincing.

The Nigerians dominated for most of the match but had little to show for their 13 first-half goal attempts as most of the efforts carried no threat.

Ethiopia, whose coach Sewnet Bishaw made eight changes from the side that lost 4-0 to Burkina Faso, were even less inspiring and barely troubled Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

The game became more stretched as it went on and in the end Nigeria were deserved winners as Moses kept his cool in two high-pressure penalty situations.

But Nigerian fans will not be happy with their team's performances so far and with a quarterfinal against favourites Ivory Coast, the team has got to improve to progress any further.

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