Uganda Cranes grab Group B leadership with victory over Senegal

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Sinan Rajub SENOGA

Uganda Cranes 1-0 Senegal

The Cranes endured the rain and cold temperatures of Annaba and a poor start to the game to defeat Senegal 1-0 in the Wednesday late kick off.

The victory became Uganda’s first at the CHAN tournament since 2014, and the second in the tournament overall.

Vipers skipper Milton Karisa led by example as he scored the all important goal that guided Micho’s men to the much needed victory over the Lions of Terranga.

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The eventful game saw Uganda turn the tables as Senegal dominated the early proceedings, goalkeeper Alionzi Nafian saved a penalty and an indirect free kick while the Senegalese were reduced to 10 men in the closing 10 minutes.

Alionzi saved a penalty and an indirect free kick

Coming into the contest, Uganda desperately needed victory if they were to stand a chance of qualifying to the knock out stages for the first time in history.

As early as the third minute, Senegal’s lanky striker Cheikh Diouf hit the cross bar with a towering header.

The 20th minute saw Alionzi making amends as saved an indirect free kick which was awarded after he intentionally handed a Geoffrey Wasswa back pass.

The resultant corner kick eventually saw a penalty being awarded to Senegal after Frank Ssebufu fouled Moussa Ndiaye with a late charge in an aerial situation.

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Alionzi brilliantly stepped to the challenge and saved Cheikh Sidibe’s penalty to maintain the scoreline at goalless.

Karisa fired Uganda into the lead when he flawlessly finished off a long Kenneth Semakula cross from close range in the 33rd minute of the game.

Coming into the second half, Micho brought on Karim Watambala for his Vipers teammate Marvin Youngman to add balance into the team.

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Moments later Karisa almost won a penalty for Uganda when he easily went down in the area under a challenge from Senegal’s Ndiaye. A penalty was awarded before the decision was rescinded following a review from the Video Assistant Referee.

Micho thereafter brought on Titus Ssematimba and Moses Aliro for Moses Waiswa and Frank Ssebufu on 66 minutes. Rogers Mato was also withdrawn for Travis Mutyaba 10 minutes later.

As Senegal pushed for a would be leveler, they were dealt huge blow after their man Libasse Ngom was sent off a minute after coming off the bench in the 80th minute.

Libasse was shown red following a Video Assistant Referee review for a very harsh challenge on Watambala.

The numerical advantage simply eased Uganda’s mission in what could have turned out to be a very tense closing final quarter of the encounter.

Hilary Mukundane was brought on for Karisa to defend the additional eight minutes and ultimately ensured Uganda’s lead is intact.

Semakula was subsequently named the Total Energies Man of the Match.

Kenneth Semakula was named man of the match

Uganda now has four points, one more than second placed Senegal.

Micho’s work is cut out heading into the final game against Cote D’Ivoire on Sunday. At least a draw can be enough to seal a place in the next round.

Uganda Cranes XI; Alionzi Nafian, James Begisa, Derrick Ndahiro, Gift Fred, Geoffrey Wasswa, Marvin Youngman, Kenneth Semakula, Moses Waiswa, Milton Karisa, Frank Ssebufu, Rogers Mato

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