While Zambia were expected to start off brightly, they failed to stamp their mark on the game, while Faso were composed and compact in their set-up.
A host of missed chances and poor deliveries resulted in a goalless draw between the pair, whereas Nigeria were able to secure a victory over Ethiopia to knock defending champions Zambia out of the contest.
Read how the 90 minutes unfolded in our minute-by-minute commentary below.
4.31pmHello all and welcome to our coverage of this afternoon's vital Group C clash! Defending champions Zambia are in danger of getting dumped out of this competition of the group stage. A victory is the only thing acceptable for the holders if they are to reach the quarter-finals.
4.33pmBurkina Faso stand in the way of Zambia and their quest to retain the Africa Cup of Nations title, but the Burkinabes don't have pressure on their shoulders as they head into this clash as they already top Group C.
4.35pmA draw will be good enough for Burkina Faso to progress into the final eight. Meanwhile, Ethiopia and Nigeria will also be doing battle at the same 5pm kickoff. You can follow commentary of that clash here.
4.37pmRight, the teams are in! We'll start with Burkina Faso...
4.41pmBurkina Faso starting XI: Diakite; Kone, P Koulibaly, Panandetiguiri, Koffi; Kone, Rouamba, Al Traore, Pitroipa; Balima, Kabore
4.44pmSo, Burkina Faso make three changes to their lineup. They're forced to bring in Daouada Diakite in goal due to Abdoulaye Soulama's suspension, while Aristide Bance drops to the bench in place of Benjamin Balima.
4.47pmWilfried Sanou has also been benched for this afternoon's match in favour of Florent Rouamba.
4.48pmMeanwhile, Zambia will be without captain Chris Katongo for the start of the match as he gets demoted to the bench with Collins Mbesuma taking his place. Also, Joseph Musonda makes way for Hichani Himonde.
4.51pmAs mentioned earlier, this is a must-win game for Zambia if they want to join South Africa, Cape Verde, Ghana and Mali in the final eight.
4.53pmZambia had a similar task last year when they had to overcome Equatorial Guinea in the group phase. They did just that and went on to win the tournament. They'll be hoping for the same result today!
4.56pmWe have five minutes or so to go until we get underway in Nelspruit.
4.58pmThe teams are out in Mbombela Stadium and the national anthems are playing. Just minutes away now!
2 minBurkina Faso build from the back through Koffi, who launches the ball up top but it's easily cleared and Zambia snatch possession.
3 minThe ball is getting kicked in the air plenty in these opening minutes. Both sides are trying the long-ball approach but it's not getting either team anywhere at this stage.
4 minZambia get a free kick just above the halfway line. They knock it back and forth from midfield and fail to probe in the final third.
5 minMayuka drives out wide on the right and gets the cross into the box but Kone headers the ball out of danger.
6 minMakusu goes to ground after a challenge from Kabore, who catches him with his studs on the top of the foot. Makusu gets to his feet but he's hobbling away.
7 minZambia kick the ball out of play after Burkina Faso's Alain Traore drops to the floor clutching his left hamstring. It doesn't look good for the Burkinabes here! Traore wasn't challenged - there was nobody near him in fact.
8 minTraore is being stretchered off and it looks as though Bance will replace him.
9 minRight, play is back underway with Zambia who knock the ball around their defensive line to begin an attack.
9 minKoffi gets a throw-in for Burkina Faso and he launches it up field but it's headed out by Sinkala.
10 minSUBSTITUTION It is in fact Bance who makes his way onto the field, while it's the end of Traore's day. A big blow to Burkina Faso.
12 minBalima drives to the edge of the box and slips the ball into Bance's feet but his first touch isn't quite there just yet and the ball drifts into the hands of the keeper.
13 minWe have another player down! This time it's for Zambia and Nkausu has dropped to the floor and he looks devastated as he covers his face with his shirt. They're dropping like flies here! The pitch certainly isn't helping.
14 minSUBSTITUTION Musanda has been brought on for Nkausu, who is taken off injured but we're not sure what's wrong with him yet.
15 minBack to matters on the pitch - Kalaba lofts the ball over the top from Zambia's own half to try to find Musonda but it goes beyond him.
16 minCHANCE! What an opportunity for Zambia to take the lead. Collins gets the ball driven to his feet in the penalty area with plenty of space and time but he takes his shot too quickly and aims it directly at the goalkeeper.
17 minReplacement goalkeeper Diakite runs from his line to snatch the ball in the air following a testing cross into the box.
18 minAt the other end, Kabore crosses the ball into the box but it's hit too hard and bounces in front of his teammates and drifts behind the line for a goal kick.
19 minBalima takes the ball out to the left and goes one on one with Mbola but the Zambia defender does just enough to put presser on Balima and knock the ball out of play.
20 minA poor ball from Balima over the top into the box fails to challenge the keeper and Zambia regain possession.
20 minAs we reach the 20-minute mark, for me, Burkina Faso have looked more threatening in the final third than their opponents, who are in need of a victory. They don't look like that current AFCON champions at the moment!
22 minMbesuma gets a crisp cross into the box from the right-hand side but there are no Zambia players to latch onto it and Balima clears the danger.
24 minLungu tries to get past Rouamba but the midfielder does enough to knock the ball out of play. Zambia are looking more composed in the middle of the pitch now but neither side have had many shots on goal as yet.
25 minBurkina Faso get a free kick in a dangerous area and Bance is poised to take it...
26 minHe does take the shot but it's a wasted opportunity as the ball drives straight into the wall and rebounds to a Zambia player.
26 minKabore gets the return ball from Bance in the box and he tries to curl it towards goal but he slips as he takes the shot and it goes wide.
27 minBurkina Faso go for another long ball pass to the top of the pitch trying to find Balima but the frontman gets rightfully flagged offside.
28 minMayuka tries to fool Kone by turning swiftly but he pushes the defender as he does it and gives away a free kick.
30 minBOOKING! Musonda gets cautioned for catching Rouamba with an elbow when jumping for the ball in the air. A correct decision from the referee.
31 minOooh that was close! Pitroipa gets himself into a good position in the penalty area but the ball bobbled up on its way and he fails to control it and get a shot away.
33 minThis pitch is not doing either side any favours! It's very dry and the ball isn't able to move easily on the ground. It's also stopping players from carrying out any usual tricks due to the fear of losing the ball.
35 minKalaba launches the ball into the final third from just ahead of the halfway line but Diakite easily jumps to snatch the ball from the air.
36 minBOOKING! Ah, and the diving row rears it's ugly head again. Mayuka gets a yellow card for simulation after appearing to go to the ground, despite not getting caught by Kone.
38 minKoffi is under pressure by Mayuka in his own half but the defender does well to hold off the forward and hit the ball down the pitch away from the threat of Zambia.
40 minMbola launches the ball into the area but there are no orange shirts to find the end of it and Diakite gathers for Burkina Faso.
42 minBance chests the ball down and tries an overhead kick towards goal but it comes to nothing. Slightly ambitious from the forward!
45+1 minZambia get a late corner in the first half after Koulibaly knocked the ball out of play but it comes to nothing and the first half finishes goalless.
5.52pmBurkina Faso, on the other hand, have set themselves up well and look threatening when they find themselves in the final third. The Burkinabes suffered an early blow when Alain Traore was forced to leave the field with an injury but they've coped well following his exit.
5.54pmZambia started off slowly but they did show signs of promise in the latter stages of the half. They will be hoping to build on that in the second 45 minutes.
5.57pmZambia had a great chance in to take a one-goal lead through Collins but his shot drove straight into the hands of the keeper. The current holders will not want to be ruing that missed chance at the end of the clash.
5.59pmWe're just minutes away from the a crucial second half for Zambia. Just to remind you, it's all square between Zambia and Nigeria with regards to the group, so it's all up for grabs!
6.02pmThe teams are on their way out for the second half.
45 minSUBSTITUTION Balima makes way for Dah as Burkina Faso get the second half underway.
46 minSo, Zambia need to get a good start here but they are in position to qualify after due to Nigeria's red card in the tournament. However, they won't want to be relying on that. They need a win.
47 minSinkala gets rightfully called offside following a long ball from Zambia's defence and Burkina Faso regain possession.
48 minOuch! There's a clash of heads between Sunzu and Mbola as the try to head for the ball but they're both on their feet and fit to continue.
49 minBurkina Faso get the corner and Kone moves into a good position to get a headed attempt in on goal but he mistimes his jump and the ball drifts out wide.
50 minSinkala snatches possession on the left and drives down the side to get the cross in. The ball finds the feet of Mayuka but it moves just ahead of him to allow him to get a clear shot on goal.
51 minChansa tries to slip the ball into the box but he gives it away and Burkina go on the attack but both sides are cancelling each other out at the moment.
52 minMayuka storms into the box to launch a cross in but his pass gets blocked by Kone and Burkina Faso can breathe again.
53 minZambia go for the long-ball approach once again but it gets snuffed out and once again, both teams are struggling to cause a threat.
54 minSUBSTITUTION Mulenga comes onto the pitch in place of Chansa for Zambia.
55 minBurkina Faso get a corner, which is fired in but Sinkala manages to head clear and set up the counter-attack.
56 minIt's a great run from Mbesuma down the left-hand side but his efforts go to waste when he crosses the ball into an empty box, which allows the keeper to gather.
57 minSome lovely one-touch play from Burkina Faso. Pitroipa finds the ball on the edge of the area but he fails to control it and loses the ball with his second touch.
58 minAt the other end, Mbesuma dinks past two players on the right-hand side but he runs into trouble and wins a corner for his side.
60 minCHANCE! Mbesuma causes a threat once again from the corner. He moves into a good position in the box when the ball comes firing in. He gets his head to the ball but he really should have done better because he misses the target and hits it over the bar.
60 minDah tries to force through an attack from Burkina Faso by dribbling down the right-hand side and crossing the ball into the box. The Zambia defence fail to notice Pitroipa arriving but he's unable to latch onto it and take his chance.
62 minIt hasn't been the best of games, I must say, but you can understand why both matches in this group are nervy because any side could qualify.
63 minZambia get a free kick from the right-side edge of the box but the cross finds the head of Bance first, who clears for Burkina Faso.
64 minPitroipa tries to turn with the ball but he gets caught out and his run is stopped in it's track. If there is going to be a goal in this game, you can see it coming from either side!
65 minJust to reiterate, at the moment Zambia are going through with Burkina Faso but if Nigeria get a goal against Ethiopia, it changes everything.
67 minZambia get a corner as they try to probe the goal but Kone easily headers the ball away and Zambia fail to grasp the opportunity again.
68 minZambia are in a great position with a free kick on the edge of the box, which is taken by Kalaba, but it gets headed away and comes to nothing.
69 minDah thinks that he's gotten away from Nkausu but the play gets brought back for a free kick.
70 minZambia are putting some pressure on their opponents here. They get two corners in quick succession and as the ball falls into the box, Sunzu gets his head to hit but he fails to aim it correctly and it goes out for a goal kick.
71 minThere's a problem with Burkina Faso keeper here. Diakite is seeking treatment on his leg after falling on it awkwardly. He's on his feet though and is fit enough to continue.
72 minKalaba has am ambitious effort on goal. He tries to curl the ball into the back of the net from yards outside the box but the chance fails to threaten the goalkeeper.
74 minPanandetiguiri gives a free kick away to Zambia after a push on Kasonde and the holders can launch an attack once again.
76 minKalaba takes the free kick but it's a poor delivery as Kone is easily able to get to the ball first and header clear.
76 minAt the other end, Burkina Faso try to cause an upset from a corner kick but as the ball is driven into the area, the keeper comes from his line to snatch the ball from the air.
78 minWell, the table has turned on it's head! Nigeria have found the back of the net courtesy of a penalty from Victor Moses against Ethiopia. This means that currently Zambia are OUT of the tournament!
79 minZambia need to step up a gear if they are to force their way into the final eight. Back to matters on the pitch - Burkina Faso get a corner and as the ball drifts towards the head of Bance, he mistimes his jump and the ball goes out.
81 minNews will be filtering through to the Zambia players and Lungu tries to set up an attack by driving down the left-hand side and launches a pass towards to Mbesuma, but it's too far for the forward to grab on to.
83 minZambia get a corner with around seven or so minutes to go but once again, it's a poor set piece and his hooked out of trouble from the Burkinabes' defence.
84 minThere's some drama in the other Group C game. The goalkeeper gets sent off for bringing down Victor Moses in the box and it looks as though an outfield player will have to go between the sticks as Ethiopia have used all over the subs!
85 minBack to our game, Bance breaks away with the ball but he gets closed down and the ball goes out of play.
86 minKalaba plays the ball out wide to Mayuka, who has time and space to get a decent cross in but he wastes the chance with a ball that drifts over the bar.
88 minZambia are on the attack now but they're still struggling with their final touch. Switching to the other game briefly, Moses makes to 2-0 to Nigeria with another penalty. It looks as though Zambia are heading home.
89 minCHANCE! While you would expect Zambia to be getting the late chances, it is in fact Burkina Faso who were inches away from snatching a 1-0 lead. The ball drives into the penalty area and Pitroipa is poised to place it into the back of the net but the keeper manages to get his hands to it first.
90 minThe fourth official has indicated four minutes of added time!
90+2 minSUBSTITUTION Burkina Faso make a change by bringing Razak on for Pitroipa.
90+2 minThat was close! The ball was bouncing around in the penalty area but no orange shirts lunged for the ball and Burkina Faso manage to clear the danger. That could have been a perfect opportunity for Zambia.
6.54pmWell there you have it, Zambia are OUT of the Africa Cup of Nations, which they won this time last year. They were into the final eight of the tournament until the second half when Nigeria managed to clinch a 2-0 win over Ethiopia.
6.55pmThere are tears around the stadium from the Zambia fans but you could argue that the champions didn't deserve to reach the quarter-finals stage. There was a lack of urgency throughout the entire 90 minutes and for large parts of the clash, they looked as though they were purely relying on Nigeria to fail.
6.57pmOn the flip side, Burkina Faso are celebrating their group campaign after topping the group, which means that they will avoid facing the Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals.
6.58pmSo, Nigeria and Burkina Faso progress into the final eight alongside South Africa, Cape Verde, Ghana and Mali.
7pmThank you for joining us and remember to tune back in to Sports Mole tomorrow when the final matches of Group D get underway - Algeria vs. Ivory Coast and Togo vs. Tunisia. Enjoy!