Uganda Cranes have smiled to victory with maximum points once again at Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament 2019.
The 2-0 victory at the Cairo International Stadium over DR Congo left the East African giants with broad smiles.
Forwards Henry Patrick Kaddu and Emmanuel Arnold Okwi headed home the two goals in each half.
Uganda Cranes took the lead on the stroke of half time when Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) striker Kaddu connected home Faruku Miya’s teasing corner kick into the net.
Earlier, Uganda had exhibited signs of a ruthless side as they posed lots of questions and provocations to the Leopards.
Miya had also threatened with a free-kick well defended inside the opening two minutes.
DR Congo replied swiftly winning a corner that defender Hassan Wasswa Mawanda dealt with.
On seven minutes, Okwi fouled TP Mazembe’s Issama Mpeko and the foul was given by the referee Redouane Jiyed from Morocco.
China based forward Cedric Bakambu shot from 20 yards but it was a routine collection by goalkeeper Dennis Onyango.
The day’s most lively and break through moment came on the quarter hour mark. Swedish based pacy winger Abdu Lumala had a courageous run down the right flank.
His cross was only good enough to early the Cranes a corner that Miya swung in Kaddu’s path for the glancing header.
The cheeky customary dance from the KCCA forward who had also scored Uganda’s goal that sealed them qualification back to AFCON after the 2017 finals communicated volume.
In fact, Kaddu would have easily doubled the scores two minutes later but missed a free-header after an industrious run by the overlapping right back Bevis Mugabi.
On 18 minutes, midfielder Aucho Khalid who turns out for Indian side Church Hill Brthers pulled the trigger in a rare attempt towards goal, but, the shot flew over.
It was Cranes again with Godfrey “Jajja Walu” Walusimbi’s cross from the left but Kaddu once again missed contact.
Mpoku registered a shot off target off his weaker left foot from 25 yards on 24 minutes.
Once again, Mpoku had a free-kick from 30 yards headed out of danger by defender Mawanda as the DR Congo Leopards fought a come back battle.
Uganda Cranes defender Murushid Jjuuko recovered well in time from a knock towards the half hour mark.
The Simba Sports Club defender recovered after further medication from the sidelines.
Another Lumala mazy run from the right flank almost won Uganda their second goal before the mandatory first water break.
The Swedish based winger who turns out for Syrianska released Okwi who set up Aucho to force goalie Matampi Ngumbi.
After the water break, Uganda Cranes maintained their dominance, earning two corners in quick corners in succession, all delivered by Miya and well defended.
Bolaise was cautioned for forging a foul after a physical contact with Cranes defender Jjuuko on 38 minutes.
There was a penalty shout out for Uganda Cranes denied as Miya seemed to have been pulled down by goalie Matampi with five minutes to the half time break. Moments later, Azira registered a shot off target off his weaker left foot but the ball flew over.
DR Congo’s best chance of the half arrived two minutes to the break but Bakambu’s curl forced Onyango to outstretch and force a corner.
Deep in the final minute of the three added, Miya’s corner was nearly connected home by the Yeovil Town defender Mugabi.
Uganda Cranes took the lead by the climax of the first half.
When the second half returned, Uganda Cranes were like a possessed entity.
Okwi headed home the second goal following a cheekily chipped free-kick by Miya. Congo reacted.
They pulled off Bope for towering striker Jonathan Bolingi after 52 minutes.
Two minutes to the hour mark, Miya had a free-kick tipped over for a corner kick before DR Congo’s Jany Tisserand missed a free-header on the counter.
The second DR Congo change witnessed Chancel Mangulu Mbemba rested for Jacques Maghoma.
Their final change saw Everton’s Yannick Bolaise taken off for Middlesborough winger Britt Assombalonga .
Uganda Cranes first change was Allan Kyambadde taking over Kaddu’s place with 15 minutes to play before Lumala limped out for Isaac Muleme.
The final change was for defender Timothy Awany taking over Miya’s slot.
This was Uganda Cranes first victory at AFCON since 1978 when Uganda beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-finals.
Emmanuel Okwi was named man of the match
Uganda now leads group A with three points, like hosts Egypt.
Uganda takes on Zimbabwe on Wednesday at the same venue.
Team Line Ups:
Uganda Cranes XI:
Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Bevis Mugabi (Yeovil Town), Godfrey Walusimbi (Un-attached), Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Un attached), Mike Azira (Montreal Impact, Canada), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Faruku Miya (HNK Gorica, Croatia), Patrick Henry Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Abdu Lumala (Syrianska, Sweden)
75′ Patrick Henry Kaddu Off, Allan Kyamadde On
82′ Abdu Lumala Off, Isaac Muleme On
88′ Faruku Miya Off, Timothy Denis Awany On
Subs Not Used:
Jamal Salim (Al Hilal-Sudan), Robert Odongkara (Adama City, Ethiopia), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania), Brian Mukiibi (Ostersunds, Sweden), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Allan Kateregga (Maritzburg, South Africa), William Kizito Luwagga (Shakhter Karagandy, Kazakhstan), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt)
Democratic Republic of Congo XI:
Ley Matampi Ngumbi (Al Ansar, Saudi Arabia), Issama Mpeko Djos (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Marcel Jany Tisserand (Wolfsbourg, Germany), Paul Jose Ebunge Mpoku (Standard Liege, Belgium), Yannick Yala Bolasie (Everton, England), Elia Lina Meschack (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Arthur Fuka Masuaku Kawela (West Ham United, England), Christian Luyindama Nekadio (Galatasaray, Turkey), Cedric Bakambu (Bejing Gujan, China), Merveille Bope Bokadi (Standard Liege, Belgium), Chancel Mangulu Mbemba (FC Porto, Portugal)
52′ Merveille Bokadi Bope Off, Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi
62′ Chancel Mangulu Mbemba Off, Jacques Maghoma On
75′ Yannick Yala Bolaise Off, Britt Assombalonga
Subs Not Used:
Glody Ngonda Muzinga (AS Vita, Congo), Bodrick Ugenda Muselenge (Primeiro Agosto, Angola), Akolo Ababa Chadrack (Stuttgart, Germany), Yousuf Mulumbu (Kilmarnock, Scotland), Tresor Mputu Mabi (TP Mazembe, DR Congo)