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10-man Burkina Faso take giant stride towards knockout stage

Alain Traore celebrates scoring in Burkina Faso's 4-0 win over Ethiopia in Mbombela.

Story highlights

  • Burkina Faso beat Ethiopia 4-0 in Group C match at Africa Cup of Nations
  • Alain Traore scores twice in commanding performance
  • Burkina Faso goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama sent off in the second half
  • Holders Zambia and Nigeria drew 1-1 in earlier match

Ten-man Burkina Faso boosted their chances of reaching the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations Friday with a 4-0 trouncing of Ethiopia in Mbombela.

The superb victory, owing much to two-goal Alain Traore, left them in pole position in Group C after holders Zambia and Nigeria drew 1-1 in the early kick off in Rustenburg.

Burkina Faso were leading 1-0 through a first half Traore strike when they had goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama sent off in the second half for handling the ball outside his area.

But Traore, who plays for Lorient in the French League, struck minutes later with a blistering shot from just outside the area to all but sink Ethiopia's chances of getting back into the match with a man advantage.

He had also scored Burkina Faso's last-gasp equalizer against Nigeria in the opening match of the tournament in South Africa.

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Traore then set up Djakaridja Kone for the third as the Ethiopia defense opened up again.

    Jonathan Pitroipa rounded off the win with the fourth in stoppage time to make it a miserable evening for the Ethiopian fans who had made up the majority of a sizable crowd in the stadium.

    It left Burkina Faso with four points from two games, with Zambia and Nigeria on two apiece. Ethiopia have just one point.

    Read: Four-time champions Ghana on course for quarters

    Zambia, who won last year's championship, looked headed for the exit door when they trailed Nigeria late into their game.

    But they were awarded a controversial penalty, which was converted with considerable aplomb by Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, lofting his effort into the roof of the net.

    Mweene had been at the receiving end of a first half spot kick awarded to Nigeria, but watched on as Chelsea's Jon-Obi Mikel scuffed a feeble effort wide of the post.

    Henri Richard's Zambia were encouraged by the miss, but it was Nigeria who struck first through Emmanuel Emenike in the 57th minute.

    It looked enough to seal through crucial points until Davies Nkausu tangled with Ahmed Musa in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.

    Nigeria goalkeeper and captain Victor Enyeama was disgusted by the award and was well beaten by his counterpart, who regularly takes penalties South Africa Premier League club Free State Stars.

    "That was one of the worst calls I've seen in the history of football," he told AFP.

    The group will be decided next Tuesday with Burkina Faso taking on Zambia in Mbombela, while Ethiopia face Nigeria in Rustenburg.

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