Zambia head into the CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) quarterfinals unbeaten and topping Group D after they were held to a draw by Mali.
George Lwandamina’s side finished 0-0 against Mali to maintain their two-point lead and end the preliminary round on 7 and 5 points respectively.
It was Zambia’s draw at CHAN following similar 1-0 wins over Zimbabwe and Uganda in their opening two games.
Uganda and Zimbabwe finished 3rd and 4th on 2 and 1 point and both bow out of the competition.
Meanwhile, Mali dominated the first half that saw Zambia goalkeeper Jacob Banda rescue his side twice.
However, it was Zambia who had the first taste in-front of goal but defender Christopher Munthali’s was offside in the 13th minute before he could lock-in on goal.
Aliou Dieng then fired a fiery volley at Banda in the 27th minute that the Zambia goalkeeper parried on the near post.
At the other end, Spencer Sautu sent his effort from the edge of the box across the face of goal in the 32nd minute.
Banda was back in action two minutes later when he struggled to collect a rasping shot from Lassana Samake as Mali finished the first period strongly.
The second half was robbed of any decent goalmouth action although Mali gave Zambia a fright in the 78th minute when Sekou Koita cut past two defenders but sent his rocketing shot across the face of Zambia’s goalmouth.