• FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers 2022 | Third Round, First Leg
  • Uganda 1-0 South Africa

Uganda fought hard to overcome South Africa in the first leg of the third round of the 2022 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Qualifier match played on Friday at St. Mary’s Stadium.

In a closely contested affair, Hadijah Nandago rose to the occasion to score the lone goal of the game.

Hadijah Nandago Credit: John Batanudde

The forward headed home Magret Kunihira corner kick delivery in the 19th minute and this eventually turned out to be the decisive moment of the game.

Uganda had injury concerns on skipper Fauzia Najjemba and Magret Kunihira who needed a late fitness test to feature in this game.

At the start, Ayub Khalifa Kiyingi’s side were on the front foot in pursuit of an early goal and indeed several chances were created.

Juliet Nalukenge Credit: John Batanudde

Juliet Nalukenge who was off colour on the day got three clear chances in the opening half an hour but lacked the composure in front of goal.

As early as the 6th minute, Komuntale forced goalkeeper Nthabiseng Ramaisha into making a good save from her low drive.

Aisha Nantongo Credit: John Batanudde

Five minutes later, Aisha Nantongo who was deployed as a makeshift holding midfielder in the absence of Shamirah Nalugya too had an attempt at goal but she was denied by the woodwork.

As Uganda fluffed one opportunity after another, South Africa kept growing in confidence and by the end of the first half, they were dominant in terms of possession.

Even after the break, they kept surging forward in an attempt to find the equalizer but Uganda was resilient enough to hold onto the lead.

When Kiyingi made changes to introduce Zaina Nandede and Lillian Mutuuzo for Juliet Nalukenge and Margaret Kunihira, there was breath of new energy in the forward line.

Najjemba troubled the South backline with her pace same as Mutuuzo and Nandede.

At the fulltime whistle, Uganda were jubilant, bagging maximum points ahead of the return leg slated for 17th December in Johannesburg.

The winner on aggregate will advance to the fourth round where they will face either Ghana or Zambia.

Joel Muyita

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

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