Can Burkina Faso hold on to the top spot in an extremely tight Group C?
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations rolls on, as Tuesday's action marks the 11th day of the tournament and will wrap up the matches in Group C.
Two spots for the knockout phase will be on the line, and anything can happen in what has been a bizarre pool in the tournament.
Bizarre indeed, because Burkina Faso is the only club to have won a match thus far, dominating Ethiopia this past Friday by a score of 4-0. But all four teams are still eligible to advance to the quarterfinals, which makes the stakes particularly high.
Check out where to catch these fixtures by way of live stream, and also what to expect in what should be an intensely competitive day of football in Mbombela Stadium.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 11:50 a.m. ET
Where: Mbombela Stadium in Mbombela, South Africa
Live Stream: Both matches can be viewed on ESPN3.
Current Group C Table
|Team||Points||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Differential|
Three of the previous four matches ended in 1-1 draws, so with the final chance for the teams to get to the next stage, the margins should remain very slim on Tuesday.
Zambia vs. Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso has been led by 24-year-old striker Alain Traore thus far, as the new, young star has netted three goals in the club's first two matches.
Les Etalons were up to the challenge in the opener against Nigeria, as they toughed out a draw thanks to a dramatic late goal by Traore in the fourth minute of injury time.
They will take on Zambia, which entered as a favorite to advance to the knockout stage as the reigning champion of the Africa Cup of Nations.
However, the Chipolopolo's high-octane attack has only notched one goal in each of two prior group fixtures, and will need to find offense against Burkina Faso to have any hopes of advancing.
It would be a disappointing defense of last year's trophy if Zambia can't advance, so look for captain Christopher Katongo to key his squad to victory and knock Les Etalons out of the tournament thanks to veteran experience.
Prediction: Zambia 2, Burkina Faso 1
Ethiopia vs. Nigeria
As gritty and typically sound as Ethiopia is defensively, it was somewhat surprising that it was blown out by Burkina Faso after giving Zambia so many problems in the first match.
That is a definite cause for concern, but Nigeria has been notorious for not quite meeting the expectations despite being one of the most talented clubs in this tournament.
Which Group C club has the best chance at making a deep run in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations?
The Walya Antelopes may be the current cellar dweller in the Group C table at the moment, yet they should not be counted out.
This will be a desperate, must-win situation, and the Super Eagles have a track record of falling short. Standout forward Adane Girma has Ethiopia's lone goal in the group stage, and has proven to be extremely clutch. Don't be surprised if he finds the net in this one.
Ultimately, Nigeria's talented front line will likely prove to be too much for the underdogs to overcome.
The Super Eagles will advance to the knockout phase with a win on the strength of an attack led by Chelsea winger Victor Moses, but they aren't likely to progress any further due to their perpetual inconsistency.
Prediction: Nigeria 3, Ethiopia 1