Uganda 1-0 South Sudan
St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende
KITENDE – Vipers SC defender Halid Lwaliwa scored a late header to ensure Uganda took care of South Sudan in their group B Africa Cup of nations qualifier on Thursday.
The Venoms skipper who had earlier replaced the injured Ronald Mukiibi expertly headed home the Cranes goal of the afternoon off Faruku Miya’s cross.
The result takes the Cranes onto 7 points from three games, atop the group.
For South Sudan, they remain bottom of the group having lost all of their opening three games.
Cranes struggle but get the job done
The Uganda Cranes are known to be a tough nut to crack at home and South Sudan can now attest to it.
Jonathan McKinstry’s side came into the game having not lost an AFCON qualifier-at home for six years and they ensured that run continued.
However, unlike in the past, they had to work for all three points.
The first half was as poor as they get offensively as the Cranes failed to create a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity.
The best opportunity to trouble the South Sudan goalkeeper saw Joseph Ochaya drag a low cross across the penalty area but Derrick Nsibambi could not apply a telling touch as it went begging for a throw in.
With the Bright Stars standing firm, Ronald Mukiibi who would later go off with injury, twice shot over from distance.
Ochaya who looked good whenever he went forward saw a free kick from just outside the area charged down by the wall.
Johnathan McKinstry’s decision to start with Derrick Nsibambi upfront did not pay dividends as the striker struggled throughout.
His best moment came midway through the first half but headed down and wide an Ochaya teasing cross.
Israel based forward Kizito Luwagga looked the more lively of the Cranes players but could also not inspire McKinstry’s side when he was called upon.
He shot wide after dancing through the South Sudan defence and did likewise after a sweet layoff by Ochaya.
The other Cranes player who occasionally troubled the Bright Stars was Faruku Miya. He came closest to scoring on 72 minutes but his first-time low shot could only kiss the post.
Miya also had earlier forced Majak Mawith into a smart save off a free kick after Luwagga was fouled.
With the game headed for a barren draw, upstepped the most unlikely of scorers.
Ochaya was clumsily fouled as Uganda tried to force the issue. Miya sent the resultant free kick into the area and. Lwaliwa was well positioned to head past Mawith for the only goal of the game.
Well organised South Sudan suffer brutal defeat
South Sudan is a young nation when it comes to football.
They were only integrated into CAF in 2012 but have shown signs of growing with each passing day.
Having secured their maiden AFCON victory on the read in 2019, they came to Uganda hoping for a good result.
They could have walked home with at least a point but were undone by Lwaliwa’s late header.
They had chances of their own to take the lead but were let down by poor finishing.
Mbarara City FC’s Makueth Wol twice ran through on goal but could not trouble Denis Onyango in the Cranes goal.
With Uganda pressing pinning them in their own half, they had to resort to trying and score off a counter, something that did not pay dividends in the end.
How both teams started
Denis Onyango (GK), Elvis Bwomono, Joseph Ochaya, Timothy Awanyi, Ronald Mukiibi, Mike Azira, Khalid Aucho, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Kizito Luwaga, Derrick Nsibambi
Majak Mawith (GK), Peter Manyang,
Abdelkarim Mutwkl, David Omot, Rahan Malong, Stephen Lony, Jackson Morgan, Manyumow Achol, Makueth Wol, Tito Okello, Ivan Wani