29 January 2013

Zambia/Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Hold Out for a Draw to Knock Out Holders Zambia

Burkina Faso reached their second AFCON quarter final after securing the point they need in a 0-0 draw with defending champions, Zambia in a group C match played at Mbombela stadium. Stallions thus won the group with Nigeria finishing second while Zambia becomes the second defending champions after Algeria in 1992 to fail to make quarter finals in the AFCON finals they were defending their title.

Zambia had the lion's share of chances but coach Herve Renard's charges could not craft a goal from the numerous chances they created. Burkina Faso mounted a solid defence fighting hard for every ball and as the clock ticked the frustrated Zambians, rushed their play snapping at opportunities in an attempt to score.

The draw coupled with Nigeria's 2-0 win over Ethiopia means Burkina Faso finish top of group C and will stay in Nelspruit for their quarter final against runners-up from group D. The Stallions were set back as early as 12th minute when key striker Alain Traore's evening was cut short with an injury. He went down clutching his left thigh and he was taken off on a stretcher to be replaced by Aristide Bance. Not long after that it was Zambia's turn to make an injury induced change when Davis Nkausu came out worse from a robust challenge by a Burkinabe defender. Herve Renard reshuffled his defence bring in Joseph Musonda. The early substitution

Zambia who started with captain Christopher Katongo on the bench had the better of chances in the first half. On 18th minute mark Chipolopolo came close when Collins Mbesuma found himself with the ball after a lovely step-over in the box but the big striker snatched at his shot from not more than 10 meters yards out, directing it straight into Daouda Diakite's hands . Just before half-time Chipolopolo missed another gilt-edged chance and this time normally reliable Burkinabe defender Mady Panandetiguiri misjudged a cross and it fell to an unmarked Rainford Kalaba at the far post but neither he could beat Diakite instead heading straight into the goalkeeper's arms.

The second half was similar in style with Burkina Faso digging in to stop Zambia in numbers while the defending champions did not look any better at finishing chances. Zambia coach Herve Renard then brought in Mulenga Muluka, a striker for midfielder Isaac Chansa as they went in search of the elusive goal. Kalaba, Mbesuma and Mbola went close in the dying minutes as Zambia poured forward but hard as they tried they could not find the all-important goal and it was left to Burkina Faso to celebrate

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