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Jan 25, 2013

Burkina Faso beats Ethiopia 4-0

Alain Traore scored twice as Burkina Faso overcame the dismissal of goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama to see off Ethiopia 4-0 in Group C of the African Nations Cup on Friday.

The Lorient striker had already put the Stallions in front when Soulama was shown a straight red card for a deliberate handball.

However, they quickly recovered from the blow with Traore, Djakaridja Kone and Jonathan Pitroipa adding further goals to lift Burkina Faso to the top of the group standings.

Ethiopia was unlucky not to be ahead as early as the fifth minute when Saladin Said released Shimeles Bekel with a back heel, but the midfielder saw his curling effort come back off the right post.

Burkina Faso produced little of note until the 22nd minute but then had the ball in the back of the net, albeit illegally.

Traore sparked things with a strike from distance which was parried by goalkeeper Zerihun Tadelle to Wilfried Sanou. He slammed a shot home, but the goal was ruled out with the midfielder marginally offside.

However, they had the ball in the net once more after 34 minutes and this time it stood.

Aristide Bance saw his power drive cleared off the line, but Charles Kabore picked up the loose ball and played it over the top of the defence for Traore to volley in from close range.

Burkina Faso continued to have the edge but their luck appeared to turn on the hour mark when Soulama was sent off for handling the ball outside of the area.

A hold-up in play followed while Burkina Faso considered its tactics, with Sanou eventually making way for replacement keeper Daouda Diakite.

Diakite's first job was to deal with a free kick from Behailu Assefa, and he came to the rescue again 10 minutes later, clinging on to another threatening ball from Behailu as the Black Lions looked to make their man advantage count.

But it was Burkina Faso that came up with the next goal after 74 minutes and it was one to savor from Traore. Pitroipa flicked the ball on to the striker, who let fly with a beautiful left-footed shot from 30 yards for his third goal of the tournament.

Kone then sealed the points five minutes later, with Pitroipa again providing the pass for the goal, which was side-footed under the onrushing Tadelle.

And Pitroipa added gloss to the scoreline with a deserved fourth five minutes into stoppage time. Ethiopia were sloppy in losing the ball in midfield, with Benjamin Balima then racing down the right and placing a perfect pass to the feet of Pitroipa, who lifted his effort over Tadelle.

Zambia 1, Nigeria 1

Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene once again proved decisive on penalties Friday as the defending champion held Nigeria to a draw in their Group C match.

Mweene first saw Nigeria's John Obi Mikel send a spot kick onto the outside of the post in the first half after diving the right way, and then scored one himself at the other end to equalize the game in the 85th minute.

Mweene's penalty-saving prowess was one of the keys during Zambia's winning campaign in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea last year, and Mikel seemed to be wary of the goalkeeper's skills as he sent a weak kick onto the post in the 25th.

Emmanuel Emenike then put Nigeria ahead with a smooth finish in the 57th minute, but Mweene stepped up to the spot himself to level with five minutes remaining.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening stages, with Rainford Kalaba firing a vicious half-volley narrowly high and wide for Zambia. The midfielder then curled in a cross that was gathered by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, just eluding Kalaba's teammates.

However, it was Nigeria that had the chance to take the lead when it was awarded a penalty in the 25th minute. Davis Nkausa's ill-judged challenge on Ahmed Musa saw the striker tumble to the ground.

Mikel took responsibility for the spotkick but the Chelsea man scuffed his shot and the ball hit the outside of the post and bounced to safety.

A relieved Zambia came forward, Chisamba Lungu forcing Enyeama to parry the ball for a corner from his dipping free kick.

Kalaba was heavily involved, with his cross headed wide by Stophira Sunzu before his team failed to take advantage of outnumbering the Nigeria defense in first half injury-time. Isaac Chansa weakly found the keeper when he had teammates free in front of goal.

Shortly after the restart Nigeria broke, but Musa's shot across the keeper eluded both the net and the onrushing Emenike.

However, the latter opened the scoring with his second goal of the the tournament 12 minutes into the second half.

Mikel pounced on a hesitant defense to find Emenike in the penalty area. He collected the ball, moved inside his marker and drilled a low shot into the corner.

Kalaba then bore down on goal but his lobbed shot was blocked by the goalkeeper with 20 minutes remaining before he turned provider, rolling the ball back to Collins Mbesuma, whose finish was weak and easily gathered by Enyeama despite being unmarked in the center of the area.

However, Zambia was given a lifeline when the referee awarded a very harsh penalty in the 85th minute when Nosa Igiebor was judged to have fouled Emmanuel Mayuka.

It was a highly contentious award, with both players slightly holding on to each other and contact appearing to be outside the box.

Mweene strolled forward, the epitome of calm despite the high-pressure situation, hands on hips, before casually dinking the ball into the top corner.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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