09 21 2014
  9:15 pm  
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(CNN) -- The tears of joy from a year ago turned to tears of sorrow as Zambia became the first defending champion to be knocked out in the first round of the Africa Cup of Nations in 21 years.

Herve Renard's side was held to a goalless draw by group winners Burkina Faso in Nelspruit, South Africa Tuesday.

That result, combined with Nigeria's 2-0 win over Ethiopia, sent the Super Eagles through and left Zambia inconsolable.

Zambia coach Renard told reporters: "It's better to have won something in your life than always qualify for the quarterfinals, but never win anything.

"Everybody is sad but my players did their maximum, and I'm very proud of them. It's not the end of the world.

"I loved my team tonight, I can't play with eight defenders. If there is someone who is responsible (for our elimination) then it's me, not my players."

Two penalties from Chelsea's Victor Moses set up an intriguing looking quarterfinal between Nigeria and tournament favorite Ivory Coast.

Burkina Faso, which until this year had never won a game in the competition away from home, will find out Wednesday whether it will face Togo or Tunisia.

"We believed we could go further in this. It's a night of history for Burkina Faso," coach Paul Putt told reporters.

"We had double motivation being close to qualification and playing against the champions. I told the players this chance might never come again."

Just 12 months ago in Gabon, the Chipolopolo celebrated its shock win where they were inspired by the loss of the 1993 Zambian team, which perished in a plane crash close to the venue of the final in Libreville.

But it was unable to pull off a repeat this time around, managing three draws in its three group games.

Instead, it was Nigeria which took second place behind Burkina Faso following a hard-fought win over Ethiopia in Rustenburg.

Ethiopia, which returned to the tournament for the first time in 31 years, fell behind on 79 minutes when Moses fired home from the penalty spot.

It got worse for Ethiopia 11 minutes later when goalkeeper Sasay Bancha was sent off for bringing down Moses inside the penalty area.

Moses added a second from 12-yards to spark wild celebrations and seal Nigeria's place in the last eight.

"This is a victory for Nigerians where ever they are in the world," Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi told reporters.

"This is a time for celebration.I thought Sunday Mba was outstanding in midfield and his introduction is part of my plan to build a team around young players, and senior players like captain Joseph Yobo, vice-captain Victor Enyeama and John Obi Mikel.

"Now we face title favorites Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals and there will be no second chance for either side. I have a game plan but, with respect, that is for the players and not for you guys (journalists)."

 

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