Uganda Cranes pulled off a narrow 1-0 victory over South Sudan at the St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Thursday to further extend their grip at the top of group B.
Vipers SC defender Halid Lwaliwa who came on as a second-half substitute for Ronald Mukiibi scored on his debut for the Cranes with five minutes to go.
There were also debuts for right-back Elvis Bwomono, Abdul Karim Watambala while defender Mukiibi also started his first game at home.
The Cranes failed to impose themselves on the game from the start and while their start was energetic, it was devoid of intent and purpose in front of goal.
In fact, it took them until the 20 minutes to produce their first real chance at goal, Ochaya’s low cross beating the South Sudan defence, but evading both Emmanuel Okwi and Derrick Nsibambi who were lurking at the far post.
By then South Sudan had already called Onyango into action, with the goalkeeper rushing off his line to thwart Jackson Morgan
Kizito Luwagga seemed to have grown from his early nerves and started to look like Cranes’ most potent goal source. The forward had a shot from range sail just past the upright and moments later, his cross found Derrick Nsibambi but the forward placed his header wide.
Miya’s free-kick after Luwagga was fouled produced a fine stop from South Sudan goalkeeper Majak Mawith with five minutes to the half time break.
Johnathan McKinstry’s half time team talk must have been effective as the Cranes returned better for the second half, but still, a breakthrough remained elusive.
Uganda Cranes XI:
Denis Onyango (18), Elvis Bwomono (06), Joseph Ochaya (02), Ronald Mukiibi (12), Timothy Denis Awany (03), Mike Azira (23), Khalid Aucho (08), Faruku Miya (17), William Kizito Luwagga (10), Derrick Nsibambi (11), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (07)
Substitutes: Jamal Salim (19), Charles Lukwago (01), Nicholas Wadada (14), Disan Galiwango, Patrick Mbowa (24), Halid Lwaliwa (15), Shafiq Kagimu (13), Karim Watambala (25), Allan Okello (20), Edrisa Lubega (22), Brian Ahebwa (16), Fahad Bayo (09)
South Sudan XI:
Ramadan John Mayik Diing (G.K – 1), Abdulkarim Yom Mutwakil -29
Peter Maker Manyang – 4, Rehan Angier Malong (14), Manyumom Achol (8), Jackson Morgan Odebe (16), Ivan Wani Adebo (7), David Sebit Omot (17), Tito Okello Odong (10), Makueth Wol Akeen Nguet (22), Stephen Pawaar Lony (25)
Subs: Godfrey Nyeko Okello (3), Abdalla Asad Musa (24), John Kuol Chol (15), Kenjok Wal Athiu (9), Dominic Abul Pretino (11), Joseph Kuch Nyuar Atak (12), Dominic Angelo Kornelio Aroma (6), Bak Majok Nyang (2), Majak Maling Mawith (23 – Goalkeeper), Denis Yongure Daluri (20), Aluck Akech Mabior (19)