Cranes edge Burundi as Somalia, Djibouti share spoils
Bright Anukani and Fahad Bayo were on target as hosts Uganda Cranes thrashed Burundi 2-1 in their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup Group A clash on Saturday, at the KCCA Stadium, Lugogo in Uganda.
Burundi got their lone goal from a well taken penalty by Cedric Rurasenga, following a handball in Uganda’s box by John Revita.
The win took them top of the group, as Somalia and Djibouti shared points at the same venue in an earlier kickoff, the 40th edition opener ending at 0-0.
Bayo thought he had opened the scores in the 4th, after shooting past Mutombora Fabien but his goal was ruled to have been scored from an offside.
Before Burundi could recover from the scare, Viane Sekajugo was it again, this time calling Fabien to a full stretch dive to deny the aggressive hosts.
The pressure was mounting, with Burundi struggling to settle in the game. The zeal was rewarded when Anukani was well picked in the box to unleash a powerful shot past Fabien in the eighth.
At the same time, Muryanoo Musa was stretchered off after colliding with Anukani as he sought to block his advance towards the goal.
Burundi settled and showed some intention albeit momentarily, pushing Cranes from their half where they had camped from the onset. They however, could not sustain the mojo and Bayo extended the lead with a cool finish of a series of beautifully traded passes.
Jean Claude Ndarysanze and Vyamungo Raoul missed to convert after Rashid Leon Narerimana fizzed a fine cross from the left channel, in their closest attempt of the first stanza.
Two minutes to the break, Bayo rose high above Hakizimana Issa, who came on for injured Muryanoo, and headed past Fabien only for the ball to fly slightly above the crossbar.
Upon resumption, Bayo started from where he had stopped, hitting the right edge of the crossbar, having clearly beaten the Fabien who quickly rose to collect the ball as the hungry striker raced for a rebound.
Burundi head coach Juma Mossi then withdrew Iddy Saida Juma for Eliphase Senga Ndayi, in an effort to gain midfield control which was then in shambles.
Ndayi had an immediate impact, as centre back Revita handled in the box his goal bound header prompting centre referee Anthony Ongwayo to point straight to the spot.
Rurasenga made no mistake, sending Cranes keeper Charles Lukwago the wrong way to reduce the deficit. Allan Lukwago could have added the third in response but his shot was saved at the line.
Under pressure Mossi was booked for his unending complaints at the touchline, as the proceedings grew more exciting with both sides showing more enthusiasm.
With 20 minutes to go, he threw into the fray Olivier Dusabe for Vyamungo, while his opposite number Jonathan McKinstry rested Shafic Kagimu to have Nicholas Kazozi in the field.
Muzamiru Mutyaba, arguably one of the experienced and finest Uganda’s strikers in the tournament, was to take Anukani’s slot, soon after Sekajugo had made way for Joakim Ojera in the last changes for Cranes.
However, no side would harvest more despite several clear chances on both ends, especially for Uganda.
Both Somalia and Djibouti exhibited flashes of brilliant passing, although the latter were more creative in the opponent’s final third. An over working Somalia defence, an outstanding goalkeeper and abit of lack luck saw the sides go to break at a barren stalemate.
In the 25th, Mahdi Houssein ran from the centre, beating all his markers in a solo effort only to miss narrowly, with Somalia’s custodian Said Aweys Ali beaten.
Djibouti continued to pile pressure on Somalia, with Warsama Hassan and Saleh Bourhan both missing from close ranges.
But it was Mohammed Fouad who came closest at the half-hour mark, rattling the post twice from rebounds, having seen the first attempt thwarted by the brilliant Aweys Ali on goal.
Ali Adem Muse responded almost immediately, in a counter attack move that had ended with Innocent Mbonihakuye, Djibouti’s goalkeeper parrying the ball out for a corner, that however went to waste.
In the dying minutes of the first stanza, Mbonihaukoye denied Hussein Abdikarim Mohammed from within the box, who had robbed the ball easily from Ahmed Youssouf, to remain in a prime position for a goal.
There would be no much change in the second half, as the rains continued to hamper the speedy flow that characterised part of the opening half.
Jacob Icia is reporting from Kampala, Uganda.