MATCH REPORT: Uganda Cranes’ valiant efforts fall short in painful defeat to Guinea

The Uganda Cranes Starting XI against Guinea on Friday, November 17, 2023 (Photo/Handout)

FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Friday, November 17th
Guinea 2-1 Uganda

Uganda Cranes suffered a heart-wrenching 2-1 defeat against West African Guinea in the first match of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers at the Berkerne Municipal Stadium in Morroco on Friday evening.

The match unfolded with Guinea seizing an early lead through a powerful 11th-minute strike from Adhibou Camara which went past the soft hands of Uganda’s goalkeeper Salim Jamal.

The match witnessed heated moments, including skirmishes between Kenneth Semakula and Francois Kamano. 

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Guinea dominated ball possession with a commanding 67-33 percentage lead, leaving Uganda struggling to create opportunities as the clock ticked away.

Travis Mutyaba’s efforts to invigorate Uganda’s offense proved challenging, and Guinea maintained a 1-0 advantage.

However, Uganda made a comeback attempt, thanks to a 30-minute mark from Fahad Bayo who capitalized on a rebound arising from Halid Lwaliwa’s header to tap in past the Guinea goalkeeper levelling the score at halftime.

In a strategic move, Belgian coach Paul Put opted for the bench to make some changes as Yunus Sentamu and Timothy Awany replaced Milton Karisa and Bobosi Byaruhanga, respectively, injecting fresh energy into Uganda’s lineup.

Sentamu’s clever attempt nearly found the net but lacked the required power. The match took a tense turn with Serhou Guirassy’s entry for Guinea in the 65th minute, adding pressure on Uganda’s backline.

The tension reached its peak in the dying moments, as Guinea secured a 90+4 victory through Seydouba Cisse’s heartbreaking freekick, leaving Uganda to rue a decision against Bevis Mutyaba.

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While the defeat marked a debut loss for head coach Paul Put, the team remains determined to make amends.

Their next challenge awaits on Tuesday against Somalia, offering an opportunity for Uganda Cranes to bounce back from this initial setback and continue their World Cup qualifying journey.

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