Qualifiers (Group B)
- Uganda Cranes 2-0 Malawi Flames
- South Sudan 0-2 Burkina Faso
Uganda Cranes out-muscled the Malawi Flames 2-0
during a group B AFCON 2021 qualifier at the largely empty Mandela National
Stadium, Namboole on Sunday.
A goal in each half by Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and
Fahad Okwi inspired the Cranes to their first victory in the qualifiers
following a goal-less stalemate away with Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou.
Okwi fired home the first after 29 minutes and Bayo
got the second with a clinical curl with 22 minutes left on the clock.
Uganda Cranes kick-started the game on a high
footing when roving left back Joseph Benson Ochaya delivered an in-swinging
cross from the left flank but it failed to find the intended target with just
two minutes into the game.
The home side won the first corner-kick of the game
after a Nico Wakiro Wadada’s cross from the right was blocked by the Malawi
Flames skipper John Banda.
A minute later, Wadada had yet another cross but it
was a heavy touch onto the ball.
The visiting team real first threat towards the
Ugandan goal was a block by Miya off Orlando Pirates forward Hellings Gabadihno
Mhango’s shot from 20 yards after 8 minutes.
On the quarter hour mark, striker Fahad Bayo
arrived late to connect with Ochaya’s cross from the left wing.
Two minutes later, Ochaya conceded a corner kick
after a mistimed headed clearance.
On 20 minutes, Uganda Cranes defender Murushid
Juuko was lucky to escape a caution from Sudanese referee Mahmood Mahmood
Ismail after a careless tackle onto Mbulu.
Two minutes later, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi rounded up
Gomezgani Chirwa but the resultant cross found Bayo in a wrong position
William Luwagga Kizito blasted over an overhead
volley following Wadada’s assist with the header on 23 minutes.
Cranes remained the offensive side when Bayo
arrived late to meet Miya’s telling delivery from the right flank after 24
Goalie Onyango had a routine collection following a
shot from distance by Mbulu in the 27th minute.
The game came to life with Okwi’s opener after 28
Ochaya delivered a long cross into the area that
Okwi controlled with a sublime first touch before blasting the ball into the
roof of the net.
Gabadihno got cautioned for bitterly protesting a
referee’s decision in the 31st minute.
Bayo raced onto Ochaya’s long ball from defence but
Miya hesitated to shoot after being set up.
Later, Okwi laid the ball for the roving Nico Wadada but the resultant cross intended for Bayo was collected by goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.
After 38 minutes, goalie Onyango got injured after
reacting fast to collect a well delivered free-kick by Gerald Phiri Junior.
With 5 minutes to end the half, Ochaya reacted
faster to tame a through ball from Phiri.
The lower post bottom denied Miya’s opportunity to
double Uganda Cranes’ lead with three minutes to the end of the opening stanza.
The visitors called for a change towards the end of
the first half when Chimango Kayira replaced Idana Chimwemwe.
Malawi had the final attempt towards goal in the opening half when Mbulu shot wide from an acute angle on the right wing.
Miya hits the lower bottom of the left post to de
as Uganda held onto for a half time lead.
Miya’s 51st minut free-kick found Bayo
in an off-side even after the Vipers Sports Club forward had headed the ball
towards goalie Munthali.
Gabadihno checked Onyango with a shot from an acute
angle on the left wing that left defender Juuko injured.
The Moroccoan based center half failed to recover well
in time to continue with play as his place was taken by Denis Timothy Awany ten
minutes into the second half.
On the hour mark, Luwagga beat his marker on the
by-line but his cut back was tapped wide by Miya from close range.
Almost immediately, Luwagga set up Miya whose first
time pass was mis-controlled by Okwi inside the goal area.
Uganda Cranes’ second change witnessed youngster
Allan Okello take on Luwagga’s slot in the 66th minute.
Bayo made it two with a clinical finish from 20
yards after dispossessing Peter Cholopi.
Malawi called off Gerald Phiri Junior and he was
replaced by Robin Ngalande with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Midfielder Khalid Aucho recovered from a slight
knock in the final quarter of the game
Substitute Ngalande shot way off target in the 77th
minute as the Flames desperately raced up for a consolation.
Midfielder Aucho, who features at Egyptian top tier
sider Mersakara limped out for another Egyptian based midfielder Tadeo Lwanga,
who plays at Tanta with 9 minutes to play.
Malawi’s final change was in the 83rd
minute when striker Gabadihno came out for Hassan Kajoke.
Okwi shot off target from 25 yards as minutes fast
ticked down the drain.
Malawi had a penalty appeal turned down when Bevis
Mugabi’s ball to hand incident was turned down by the referee.
The final whistle by Sudanese referee Mahmood
Mahmood Ismail was greeted with wild applause from the players, fans in the
stands and the technical bench led by McKinstry who registered maximum points
on his first home mission.
Uganda Cranes now get to four points from two matches as Malawi who out-witted South Sudan in the opener remains on three points.
The other game in the same group witnessed Burkina Faso win 2-0 away in Khartoum over South Sudan.
Like Uganda, Burkina Faso also goes to four points in group B.
Team Line Ups:
XI: Denis Onyango (GK, Captain), Nico Wakiro Wadada, Joseph
Benson Ochaya, Bevis Mugabi, Murushid
Juuko (57’ Timothy Denis Awany), Khalid Aucho (81’ Tadeo Lwanga), Mike Azira,
Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Fahad Bayo, William Luwagga Kizito (67’
Subs Not Used: Robert Odongkara (GK), Charles Lukwago (GK), Halid
Lwaliwa, , William Kizito, Allan Kyambadde, Isaac Muleme, Hassan Wasswa
Mawanda, Henry Patrick Kaddu
Malawi XI: Brighton Munthali (G.K), Stanley Sanudi, Peter
Cholopi, Lucky Malata, Idana Chimwemwe (45’ Chimango Kayira), Richard Mbulu,
Gerald Phiri Junior (70’ William Kilipota Thole), Hellings Gabadihno Mhango (83’
Hassan Kajoke), John Banda (Captain), Chirwa Gomezgani, Chester Yamikani
Subs Not Used: Trevor Kalema, Chikoti Chirwa, Miciam Mhone, Nickson Nyasulu, Peter Banda
- Center Referee: Mahmood Mahmood Ismail (Sudan)
- 1st Assistant Referee: Omer Hamid Mohamed Ahmed (Sudan)
- 2nd Assistant Referee: Abdelgabar Mohamed Abdelgabar (Sudan)
- Fourth Official: Elsiddig Mohamed Eltreefe (Sudan)
- Commissioner: Aimable Habimana (Burundi)