Rivals Zambia and Zimbabwe met for the first time ever in a major continental tournament on Tuesday, with the former coming out on top 1-0 thanks to a second-half goal from Isaac Chansa at the Umuganda Stadium, Rwanda.
Meanwhile, Mali and Uganda played out a 2-2 draw, a result neither team will be happy with as they seek to qualify for the knockout stages.
Here's a look back at the best of Tuesday's action, how Group D is shaping up after this one and the matches to come in the competition.
|Group D Standings|
|CHAN 2016: Updated Schedule|
|Jan. 20||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||A||Rwanda vs. Gabon|
|Jan. 20||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||A||Morocco vs. Ivory Coast|
|Jan. 21||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||B||Congo vs. Angola|
|Jan. 21||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||B||Cameroon vs. Ethiopia|
|Jan. 22||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||C||Tunisia vs. Nigeria|
|Jan. 22||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||C||Niger vs. Guinea|
|Jan. 23||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||D||Zimbabwe vs. Mali|
|Jan. 23||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||D||Uganda vs. Zambia|
|Jan. 24||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||A||Morocco vs. Rwanda|
|Jan. 24||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||A||Ivory Coast vs. Gabon|
|Jan. 25||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||B||Ethiopia vs. Angola|
|Jan. 25||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||B||Cameroon vs. Congo|
|Jan. 26||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||C||Guinea vs. Nigeria|
|Jan. 26||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||C||Niger vs. Tunisia|
|Jan. 27||1 p.m. / 8 a.m.||D||Zambia vs. Mali|
|Jan. 27||4 p.m. / 11 a.m.||D||Uganda vs. Zimbabwe|
|CHAN 2016: Tuesday Results|
Mali Hold Uganda to 2-2 Draw
Mali failed to take advantage of a number of key injuries for Uganda, playing out a 2-2 draw with the Cranes in their first match of CHAN 2016.
The Eagles' national team has taken some promising steps forward in recent times, but most of Mali's stars play for European teams, and expectations were low coming into this year's Nations Championship.
Joseph Ochaya gave the Cranes the lead after just 14 minutes with a beautiful free-kick, but the favourites couldn't enjoy their lead for very long, as Sekou Koita hit back for Mali just 10 minutes later.
Mali held the edge in possession, but Uganda looked far more threatening, particularly on the counter-attack, and they deservedly reclaimed the lead before half-time. Farouk Miya expertly converted a penalty, to the delight of Joseph Owino of Kawowo Sports:
Disaster struck for Uganda early in the second half, however. First, captain and scorer Miya left the pitch with an injury before goalkeeper Ismail Watenga suffered a knock of his own.
With two of their biggest stars now sidelined, the Cranes struggled to keep up with Mali's fast-paced passing game, and Hamidou Sinayoko tied things up with 30 minutes left on the clock.
Mali pushed for a late winner and came close with minutes to spare, but Sinayoko couldn't push the ball past substitute goalkeeper Mathias Kigonya in a one-on-one situation.
Before the opening whistle, Mali would have been happy with a draw against a strong Uganda side, but after the Cranes lost both their captain and starting goalkeeper, the Eagles had their chances to grab an unlikely win and take a shock lead in Group D.
Uganda's bid to win this year's tournament took a major hit with the loss of Miya and Watenga, and the latter is unlikely to return after leaving the pitch on a stretcher. All is not lost for the Cranes, but they'll need a big performance to beat Zambia in their next match.
Zambia Battle to Victory
The first half an hour of this clash was a bit of a struggle for both sides, as they sought to establish early rhythm. In the first game of a major tournament it’s always important to avoid defeat and that was evident with some cagey initial play, with each side wary of making mistakes.
Of the four groups in this tournament Group D definitely looks the most evenly-matched and that was evident as neither side were able to get an edge. Zambia showcased the classier moments in the contest, though, as they carved through the Warriors’ back line on a couple of occasions, with skipper Christopher Katongo impressing.
The Zambia team's Twitter feed summed up the pattern of the contest for much of the opening period:
But they didn’t have the composure to make any chances count before the interval and sadly for those in attendance, a stalemate was the most fitting scoreline at half-time.
Thankfully, the second half was a much more entertaining affair, with Zambia stepping up their intensity after the break. It meant the Zimbabweans were pushed back even deeper and eventually, they gave away a golden chance, which was taken.
Chansa was on hand to force home at the back post from a free-kick in the 58th minute. Then, much to his disappointment, he was withdrawn from the action just a couple of minutes afterwards.
The goal from the Chipolopolo seemed to sap some of the life out of the Zimbabwe players, who had been defending gamely up until that point. Indeed, Zambia were able to keep control of possession for some long spells in the contest afterwards, with their opponents seeming to fade as we moved into the final third of the contest.
It was an assurance on the ball that enabled Zambia to see this one out relatively comfortably in the end and give the Chipolopolo a crucial three points in what promises to be a group that contains plenty of twists and turns.