A second half goal from a second-half substitute Halid Lwaliwa was enough as Uganda Cranes had to wait until the 85th minute to score at the expenses of the hardcore South Sudan side 1-0 during the AFCON 2021 Group B qualifier at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Thursday.
Lwaliwa met Faruku Miya’s well-curled free-kick with 5 minutes to climax the game as South Sudan’s resilience was finally broken in the closed door match.
The Vipers’ captain had moments earlier replaced defender Ronald Mukiibi Ddungu who limped out with a hamstring.
As early as the third minute, defender Ddungu’s long diagonal was easily collected by goalkeeper Ramadan John Mayik Diing.
It was Mukiibi again with a distant shot flying over the South Sudan’s goal posts from 35 yards.
South Sudan came to life with a free-kick on 10 minutes from David Sebit Omot from the left is easily collected by goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
At this moment, rains drizzled over the Kitende astro turf as skies cooled down.
Left winger Joseph Ochaya’s free-kick hit the defensive wall after striker Paul Nsibambi had brought down on the arc of the penalty area.
On the quarter-hour mark, goalkeeper Denis Onyango got off the line to thwart Ivan Wani’s cross-cum-shot from the left.
Another Ochaya’s free-kick taken 25 yards away was tamed by goalkeeper Ramadan after 17 minutes.
South Sudan’s first real threat at Uganda Cranes’ goal happened in the 25th minute when striker Makueth Wol Akeen Nguet broke through but fired wide of Onyango’s left post.
Moments later Derrick Paul Nsibambi headed out off Ochaya’s cross from the left.
The best moment for Uganda Cranes came in the 26th minute when Nsibambi arrived late at the back post off Ochaya’s delivery after being set up by William Luwagga Kizito.
At the half-hour mark, Stephen Pawaar Lony shot from distance but the effort flew wide of goal.
Five minutes later, Ivan Wani’s cross from the left flew unattended across the field of play from left to right.
Luwagga beat two of his opponents from the left but his shot was blasted wide of goalkeeper Ramadan’s goalposts.
South Sudan’s first corner-kick of the game came after 37 minutes.
Makuweth shot wide after being released by Stephen Paawar’s back-heel in another threat for South Sudan.
Miya had a venomous free-kick from 35 yards saved by goalkeeper Ramadan John in the 41st minute.
The hosts had the final say of the opening half when Luwaga laid up for Ochaya but the cross-cum-shot from the latter was an easy pick for goalkeeper Ramadhan.
Upon restart of the second half, Nsibambi had a shot deflected for a corner-kick after being played through by Luwagga.
Mukiibi’s 50th-minute shot flew over South Sudan’s goal post from 35 yards.
There was a double change for South Sudan 10 minutes into the second stanza.
Dominic Angelo Kornelio Aroma paved the way for Jackson Morgan Obede as striker Makueth was replaced by Kenjok Wal Athiu.
Uganda Cranes’ technical team rested Emmanuel Okwi for the fresh legs of Allan Okello in the 58th minute.
On the hour mark, Luwaga laid the ball from the left but Aucho’s half volley inside the goal area missed the target.
Allan Okello shot from30 yards but the goalkeeper saved with a bouncing effort on 65 minutes.
South Sudan rested Manyumom Achol for Dominic Abul Pretino.
In the 68th minute, defender Mukiibi pulled a hamstring as he limped out for Vipers’ captain Lwaliwa.
Four minutes later, Miya’s low drive after a well-laid ball by Aucho kissed the lower bottom post and sailed out of play as the home side intensified their raids.
The final quarter hour mark witnessed a double change for Uganda Cranes.
Karim Watambala and Edrisa Lubega were replaced by Aucho and Nsibambi respectively.
The visitors took off Tito Okello for Denis Yongure Daluri with 10 minutes to play as Abdalla Asad Musa was introduced for Stephen Pawaar Lony in another double change.
Late in the game, Ochaya was booked for a foul on defender Rehan Angier Malong, a caution that rules him out of the return leg on Tuesday, 16th November 2020 in Nairobi.
The win takes Uganda Cranes to 7 points labelled with Burkina Faso from 3 matches. Burkina Faso beat the flames of Malawi 3-1 in Ouagadougou, to command the group B table standings.
Uganda Cranes XI: Denis Onyango (18), Elvis Bwomono (06), Joseph Ochaya (02), Ronald Mukiibi (12), Timothy Denis Awany (03), Mike Azira (23), Khalid Aucho (08), Faruku Miya (17), William Kizito Luwagga (10), Derrick Nsibambi (11), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (07)
Substitutes: Jamal Salim (19), Charles Lukwago (01), Nicholas Wadada (14), Disan Galiwango, Patrick Mbowa (24), Halid Lwaliwa (15), Shafiq Kagimu (13), Karim Watambala (25), Allan Okello (20), Edrisa Lubega (22), Brian Ahebwa (16), Fahad Bayo (09)South Sudan XI: Ramadan John Mayik Diing (1), Abdulkarim Yom Mutwakil (29), Peter Maker Manyang (4), Rehan Angier Malong (14), Manyumom Achol (8), Jackson Morgan Odebe (16), Ivan Wani Adebo (7), David Sebit Omot (17), Tito Okello Odong (10), Makueth Wol Akeen Nguet (22), Stephen Pawaar Lony (25)
Substitutes: Godfrey Nyeko Okello (3), Abdalla Asad Musa (24), John Kuol Chol (15), Kenjok Wal Athiu (9), Dominic Abul Pretino (11), Joseph Kuch Nyuar Atak (12), Dominic Angelo Kornelio Aroma (6), Bak Majok Nyang (2), Majak Maling Mawith (23 – Goalkeeper), Denis Yongure Daluri (20), Aluck Akech Mabior (19)
Sources: Kawowo Sport.