MATCH REVIEW: Uganda Cranes defeat Somalia in first win at World Cup qualifiers

KCCA'S Rogers Mato celebrate scoring his goal which helped Uganda Cranes to a 1-0 victory over Somalia on Tuesday afternoon

FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers
Tuesday, Nov 21, 2023
Somalia 0-1 Uganda 

Uganda Cranes on Tuesday secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Somalia in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers in a riveting clash at Berkane Municipal Stadium.

The hero of the match was Rogers Mato, whose fourth-minute tap-in proved decisive for Uganda, marking their first triumph under the guidance of Belgian tactician Paul Joseph Put.

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As the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read Somalia 0-1 Uganda, signifying a positive start for the Uganda Cranes in their quest for a World Cup berth.

The Cranes dominated the early stages, with Ismail Watenga, Uganda’s goalkeeper, showcasing his skills in the 30th minute by dodging an imminent threat and launching the ball forward.

A near miss by Travis Mutyaba before halftime added to the suspense, but Uganda confidently led 1-0 as the teams retreated to the locker rooms.

Strategic substitutions saw Umar Lutalo and Bobosi Byaruhanga replace Allan Oyirwoth and Khalid Aucho at the 60th minute, ensuring the Cranes maintained their edge. Denis Omedi substituted for Fahad Bayo in the 80th minute, contributing to the team’s defensive strength.

As the final whistle echoed through the stadium, sealing the win against Somalia, Uganda’s performance was not without challenges. 

The Cranes, at times, appeared hapless and lost concentration in the final third despite holding a numerical advantage over their opponents.

The chilly encounter witnessed moments of brilliance, with Mato’s celebration freezing the frame after he skillfully scored past Somalia’s goalkeeper Mustafa Yuusuf.

Post-match analysis revealed that Uganda retained their fifth position in Group G with three points, level with Mozambique, Botswana, and Guinea. The latter suffered a 1-0 defeat in their second match against Botswana.

Looking ahead, Uganda is set to return to World Cup qualifying action in June 2024, hosting Botswana and Algeria at Namboole Stadium.

The lineup, featuring key players like Ismail Watenga, Travis Mutyaba, and Rogers Mato, showcased the team’s depth and resilience.

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In other notable matches, Rwanda secured a 2-0 victory against South Africa, Ethiopia faced a 0-3 defeat against Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Benin played to a goalless draw, Botswana triumphed 1-0 over Guinea, and Malawi suffered a 0-1 loss to Tunisia.

The journey continues for the Uganda Cranes as they navigate the challenging path toward the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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