Uganda Cranes was confirmed as the second team to qualify from Group A to the round of 16 despite the 2-0 loss to hosts Egypt at a fully packed Cairo International Stadium on Sunday night.
Talisman Mohamed Salah’s explicitly taken free-kick and skipper Ahmed Elmohamady Abdelfattah Aly’s wonder finish, both in the first half won the game for Javier Onainida Aguirre’s side.
Abdu Lumala, Allan Kyambadde, and Faruku Miya were all culprits in the opening 30 minutes.
Before Salah’s 35th minute goal, it was Uganda Cranes who had dominated the game, creating close to five scoring opportunities – all never put to use.
The moment of brilliance arrived 10 minutes from the half time break when Hassan Wasswa fouled Ahmed Hassan 20 yards away.
Salah made no mistake to beat Onyango with a well-drilled free-kick into the back of the net.
Uganda Cranes lost skipper Denis Onyango and key midfielder Khalid Aucho through injuries.
Mawanda assumed the captain’s role as Onyango’s slot was taken by Adama City goalkeeper Robert Odongkara who was rarely seriously tested.
Aucho was replaced by Vipers captain Tadeo Lwanga.
The two substitutes immediately made an instant impact.
Odongkara combined with Lwanga who chipped to Okwi but the forward failed to beat Elshenawy in goal as poked the ball wide.
Kyambadde who had been booked earlier was replaced by William Luwagga Kizito with 12 minutes to play.
Despite the loss, Uganda Cranes qualifies to the next stage as the second placed team from group A on four points.
This is the first time to make the AFCON group stages for the first time in 41 years.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) out-muscled Zimbabwe 4-0 at the 30th June Stadium in Cairo.
Jonathan Bolingi, a brace from Cedric Bakambu (including a penalty) and Britt Assombalonga’s last nail thumped Zimbabwe on the night.
DRC will now wait the mathematics for the four countries that will qualify as third best.
Egypt’s skipper El Mohamady was once again named man of the match.
Uganda Cranes XI: Denis Onyango, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Timothy Denis Awany, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Mike Azira, Khalid Aucho, Abdu Lumala, Faruku Miya,Emmanuel Arnold Okwi. Allan Kyambadde.
Subs: Robert Odongkara (G.K), Salim Omar Magoola (G.K), Joseph Benson Ochaya, Bevis Kristofer Kizito Mugabi, Tado Lwanga, William Luwaga Kizito, Patrick Henry Kaddu, Paul Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Kateregga, Ronald Mukiibi Ddungu, Isaac Muleme
Injured: Murushid Juuko
Egypt XI: Mohamed Elshenawy Elsayed (G.K), Ahmed Elmohamady Abdelfattah Aly Eissa, Alyman Ashraf Elsyad, Baher Mohamed Moursi, Ahmed Elsayed Elsayed Ali Elsayed Hegazy, Mohamed Elneny, Nabil Amad Aly, Abdallah Mahmoud Said Mohamed Bekhit, Mohemed Salah Mahrous Ghaly, Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, Ahmed Hassan Mohamed Abdelmonem Mohamed Mahgoub
Subs: Ahmed Nasser Mahmoud Maowad Elshenawi (G.K), Omar Gaber, Aly Mohamed, Hamed Tarek, Marwan Mohsen Fahmy Tharwat, Said Walid Ebeid, Ahmed Ayman Mohamed Mansour, Ahmed Gharib, Mahmoud Hamdy Mohamed Attia, Mahmoud Alaaeldin Mahmoud Ibrahim
Absent: Amr Medhat Mohsen Warda, Mahmoud Abdelrehim Abdelrehim (G.K)
Head Coach: Javier Onaindia Aguirre
- Center Referee: Maguette Ndiaye (Senegal)
- Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Guy Noupue Nguegoue (Cameroon)
- Assistant Referee 2: Seydou Tiama (Burkina Faso)
- Fourth Official: Helder Martins Rodrigues De Carvalho (Angola)
- Commissioner: Mohamed Sobha (Mauritania)
- Commissioner General: Khaled Lemkecher (Tunisia)