AFCON 2019 (Group A): Uganda Cranes 1-1 Zimbabwe Warriors
Uganda Cranes and the Zimbabwe Warriors played to a one all draw in a group A encounter played at a fully packed Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Emmanuel Arnold Okwi poked the ball for the opener after 11 minutes before play-maker Khama Billiat cheekily drilled the equaliser towards the end of the first half.
Uganda Cranes had a brilliant start when Okwi slammed the ball home on 11 minutes for his second tournament goal.
Okwi was well positioned to bury home Abdu Lumala’s initial shot on target, fluffed by goalkeeper George Chigova.
Six minutes later, Godfrey “Jajja Walu” Walusimbi had a chipped free-kick that found striker Patrick Kaddu in an off-side position.
From then onwards, Zimbabwe Warriors took over.
A largely impressive Khama Billiat crossed inside the Uganda goal area but skipper Knowledge Musona arrived late at the back post after 18 minutes.
Goalkeeper Denis Onyango reacted quicker off his line to tame the impeding danger – a through ball by Talent Chawapihwa on the right wing.
Musona shot over Onyango from close after a well laid ball by Billiat on 23 minutes.
On the half hour mark, Uganda Cranes holding midfielder Khalid Aucho had a deflected shot for a corner.
Two minutes later, Musona had a dangerously swung in free-kick flying out.
It was Zimbabwe on the offensive again, calling Onyango to block a Khama’s low ball into the area from the right flank.
Uganda Cranes raided a quick counter attack that witnessed Faruku Miya’s intended through ball to Kaddu easily collected by goalkeeper Chigova.
Uganda Cranes finally conceded with five minutes to play in the first half.
Musona laid the ball for Khama from the left before the Kaizer Chiefs play maker shot cheekily for the equalizer.
Half time ended all square one goal apiece. As the second half returned, Uganda made the initial attempt.
A long ball out of defence by Ronald Mukiibi found Kaddu who was slower and goalie Chigova collected with ease.
Musona hit the cross bar from close range in what looked seemed to be Zimbabwe’s best chance to take the lead six minutes into the second stanza.
Two minutes later, Lumala dispossessed Talent Chawapihwa but the former’s cross was disappointing
The first change of the game was done by Uganda Cranes on the hour mark. Tadeo Lwanga was introduced for Michael Azira.
In the 65th minute, Zimbabwe made a change of their own. Talent was rested for Evans Rusike before Michael Thabani Kamusoko came off for Nyasha Marshal Munetesi.
Onyango made a goal line clearance off Khama’s close range effort.
Uganda’s second change witnessed Allan Kyambadde for the goal scorer with 20 minutes to play. Kyambadde made an instant impact, winning a foul 20 yards away from goal.
Miya curled wide the resultant free-kick out.
Uganda’s golden moment to take the lead fell to Kaddu who volleyed wide after an inviting run by Lumala on the right.
With nine minutes to play, defender Mugabi found himself in an unfamiliar position, curling from close range wide of the goal.
Midfielder Aucho Khalid of Uganda Cranes was the only booked party in the game.
Uganda made a late-late change, introducing defender Denis Timothy Awany for Miya.
Uganda gets to four points as Zimbabwe has only picked a point.
Uganda Cranes XI:
Denis Onyango (G.K), Bevis Kristofer Kizito Mugabi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Ronald Brian Mukiibi Ddungu, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Michael Azira, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Khalid Aucho, Faruku Miya, Patrick Henry Kaddu, Abdu Lumala
Robert Odongkara (G.K), Salim Omar Magoola (G.K), Joseph Benson Ochaya, Timothy Dennis Awany, Tadeo Lwanga, Paul Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Kateregga, Isaac Muleme, William Luwaga Kizito, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Isaac Muleme,Murushid Juuko
Head Coach: Sebastien Desabre (France)
George M.T Chigova (G.K), David Tendayi Darikwa, Divine Xolile Lunga, Teenage Lingani Hadebe, Alec Takunda Mudimu, Danny Phiri, Ovidy Obvious Karuru, Khama Billiat, Michael Kamusoko Thabani, Knowledge Musona (Captain), Talent Chawapihwa
Subs: Philana Tinotenda Kadwere (G.K), Lawrence Mlanga, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Knox Mutizwa, Elvis Chipezeze, Evans Rusike, Jimmy Deis Dzingai, Marshal Nyasha Munetsi, Ronald Tapiwa Pfumbidzai
Injured: Edmore Sibanda (G.K), Nyasha Mushekwi, Marvellous Nakamba
Head coach: Sunday Marimo Chidzambga (Zimbabwe)
- Center Referee: Eric Arnaud Otogo Castane (Gabon)
- Assistant Referee 1: Issa Yaya (Chad)
- Assistant Referee 2: Lione Andrianantenina (Madagascar)
- Fourth Official: Mahamadou Keita (Mali)
- Commissioner: Kossi Gbezonde Akpovy (Togo)
- General Coordinator: Khaled Lemkecher (Tunisia)