Uganda 0-0 Burkina Faso
St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende
The Uganda Cranes were held to a goalless draw by Burkina Faso at Kitende in their 5th AFCON qualifier.
The Cranes who looked like the better side especially in the second half, twice rattled the wood work through Ibrahim Orit and Faruku Miya but could not find the back of the net.
Burkina Faso looked comfortable with sitting back and holding onto a point as the rarely troubled the Cranes.
The draws sees Uganda move to eight points and they stay In second spot on the group B log.
For the Stallions, they maintain top spot and now move to nine points with just one game to play.
With Malawi beating South Sudan 1-0 in the other group B game, Uganda now needs to avoid defeat in their final game to ensure they seal a spot at the finals in Cameroon.
Cranes Fail To Make Home Advantage Count
Uganda is attempting to reach a third consecutive AFCON finals after doing so in both 2017 and 2019.
Starting the day second with seven points, the Cranes were attempting to give themselves a decent chance of qualifying and not relaying on results elsewhere.
However, having lost to South Sudan in their last game, and also struggling to dispatch the same side 1-0 on match-day three, there were concerns going into Wednesday’s game.
The absence of Khalid Aucho in the midfield saw Tadeo Lwanga start alongside Mike Azira and the Simba SC player got himself into early trouble as he was booked inside the opening quarter of the hour.
The Cranes started in a 4:2:3:1 formation with Faruku Miya, Abdu Lumala and Emmanuel Okwi playing behind striker Patrick Kaddu.
The three were tasked with ensuring there is creativity in the final third, but all struggled in the opening half with Miya seeing more of the ball but on most occasions, sending just set plays into the area. The Turkish based forward tried to take matters into his own hands, early in the second half, as he made several interesting runs into the final third but could only send a low shot straight at Koffi, and then seeing the same result from another shot from outside the area.
With seven minutes to play, Miya collected from Waiswa before sending his delicate first-time effort onto the left-hand post and allowing Burkina Faso to clear their lines.
Lumala who was featuring in his first game on Ugandan soil, failed to take advantage of his pace and explosiveness and casually gave away possession on several occasions. He was eventually taken off and replaces by Orit at halftime.
Okwi, who has been reliable especially at home, struggled to make impact and created close to nothing going forward.
For Kaddu, he rarely got onto the ball as the visitors sat deep and won most of the first-balls sent into their area. Kaddu’s only sniff on goal was the shot from distance that forced Koffi into a low save.
Uganda got two good chances to grab the lead, in the second half, but Orit headed Miya’s corner-kick onto the post before Joseph Ochaya’s shot from inside the box forced Koffi into a brave two-handed save.
Burkina Faso Seal Qualification
Burkina Faso failed to reach the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt and it was just the third time since 1996 that they had failed to negotiate the qualification hurdle.
A crisis of sorts saw a change in management as Kamau Malo took over and was tasked with ensuring the Stallion returned to where they belong.
After the draws were made, Burkina Faso were favourites to finish top of group B and they justified that tag with two victories and as many draws in their opening four games.
A trip to Uganda suggested that just a point would ensure Malo’s side qualified to the finals as the leaders.
The Stallions where looking at Aston Villa forward Betrand Traore to inspire them on the day and he, for the better part of the game, tried to get onto the ball and make things happen.
However, he failed to beat an organised Cranes back line and had to settle for the free kicks he won in untroubling areas.
Charles Kabore who was playing his 100th game in the all-green of the Stallions martialed the midfield like he has always done in the past and could have handed the visitors the lead only for his fierce drive from just outside the box, to sail over.
As the game headed into its final stages, Burkina Faso sat deeper as they looked to hold onto a point that would see them seal their spot in Cameroon early next year.
The combination of the wood work and Koffi’s save hands saved them from Orit’s header and Ochaya’s fierce drive respectively.
In the end, the Stallions held on and saw out the result.
How both teams started
Denis Onyango (GK) (C), Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Ochaya, Murushid Juuko, Halid Lwaliwa, Tadeo Lwanga, Mike Azira, Faruku Miya, Abdu Lumala, Emmanuel Okwi, Patrick Kaddu.
Koffi Herve (GK), Dabo Kevine, Abdou Traore, Mohamed Konate, Tapsoba Edmond, Dayo Issoufou, Charles Kabore (C), Betrand Traore, Cyrille Bayala, Steve Yago, Issa Kabore.