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Date: 24 November 2017

  African - Soccer

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News Headlines

All square in Group C, as Zam, Nigeria are held

[Posted 22 Jan 2013]
[By Beezsports Reporter]
All square in Group C, as Zam, Nigeria are held
Group C of the Orange Africa Cup of National 2013 finals provided drama, after two of Africa's giants and top seeds at this AFCON finals edition, Zambia and Nigeria failed to hold onto their respective leads against Ethiopia and Burkina Faso respectively, while the two group matches witnessed two red-cards.

In the earlier match at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit Mpumalanga, Zambia survived earl scares from the rampaging Ethiopians to take the lead through Orlando Pirates hitman Collins Mbesuma, who finished off with aplomb a  magnificent build-up by the African Champions on the stroke of half-time.

Ethiopia, who had missed two clear chances to take the lead in the first half, found an equaliser that broke the Zambian hearts in the 65th minute when Ethiopian captain fantastic Saladin Said scored spectacularly following a move that was engineered by substitute Addis Hintsa.

The first half was full of drama. Firstly, Ethiopians thought they had found the equaliser in the 17th minute when Said found space to beat keeper Kennedy Mweene with a lob, only for his effort to take wicked bounce and over the cross bar.

After that, then came a moment of brilliance by keeper Mweene for Zambia. Again it was a Said v Mweene situation. Ethiopia won a penalty after Chisamba Lungu brought down the Ethiopian captain. When Said stepped up to take the kick, Mweene saved the day for the Zambians as he parried the effort into safety.

In the second match played at the same stadium a few hours later, Nigeria failed to convert their dominance into goals.

Even thought they took a deserved lead in the first hald through Emmanuel Emenike, only for the Nigerians to be reduced to ten man when Efe Ambrose was sent off 15 minutes from time.

Enjoying their numerical superiority, the Stallions punished the Super Eagles after the West Africans attempted to be over elaborate towards the end of the match by pouring foward in numbers. That move opened up gaps in their defence, and Alain Traore punished them with the last kick of the match.

The two matches ended, Zambia 1-1 Ethiopia, and Nigeria 1-1 Burkina Faso. All teams are equal on points, making the next matches very very crucial for all teams. It is now difficult to predict who will progress from this group.

On paper, Zambia and Nigeria are favoured to progress, but that is where it ends...on paper. As things stand however, one of Ethiopia or Burkina Faso are now favoured to go through. This is what favours the minnows.

Zambia and Nigeria will at best play out to a draw, and that draw will definitely be a high scoring draw, a 2-2 draw or even a 3-3 draw. The match between Ethiopia and the Stallions is likely to produce a winner.

If Ethiopia wins against the Stallions in their next match, they will move to four points, and anything can happen in their last match against Nigeria. The East Africans are known to be a very stubborn side, and they too, like the Super Eagles are good ball players, compact at the back and can be deadly infront of goals.

One of Zambia and Nigeria will likely miss out on progression to the quarter-finals, we hereby predict.

And one of Ethiopia and Burkina Faso will make it to the quarter-finals, and it looks more likely that Ethiopia, who surprisingly out-numbered Zambia in the stands. This was shocking considering that Zambia are a Southern African team and East Africa is a distance from here.



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