Sunday, July 18
*Uganda 0-0 DR Congo
Uganda fired blanks against guests DR Congo in their opening game of the ongoing 2021 CECAFA U23 Challenge Cup at Bahir Dar Stadium in Ethiopia.
The result means that Uganda must beat Tanzania in their last group A match to have a chance for an automatic place in the semifinals.
The Kobs were dominant in the first half but saw their early promise fade away as the Junior Leopards proved tenacious.
Morley Byekwaso will rue the few missed chances in the first half but his side lacked urgency going forward in a game where neither side deserved to walk away with maximum points.
Captain Enock Walusimbi, deployed at right back, created the game’s best chance but his teasing cross was skewed wide by Derrick Kakooza.
The Express FC defender also had his early drive deflected for corner as the Kobs asked early questions.
Steven Desse Mukwala, one of the over-age players on the team, failed to live as advertised in a game he should have carried the team across the line.
The URA FC marksman failed to connect a header from Julius Poloto delivery, and could not bundle home after the DRC keeper spilled a Walusimbi cross.
Tricky Calculations For Kobs
Both Uganda and DR Congo go joint top in a three-team Group A with a point apiece.
The format of the tournament will see the top team in each of the three groups joined by an overall best runner to make it four in the semis.
Its a must win for Uganda against Tanzania next Saturday if they are to have a chance of progressing to the semis.
Tanzania will play their first group match against DR Congo on July 22 per the initial fixture, and any result from that will surely change the calculations for Byekwaso’s side before Saturday’s decisive game.
Uganda are favourites for the tournament given their recent history in the CECAFA region and recent form.
Lacklustre Kobs Fail To Break DR Congo
Uganda Kobs got off the blocks impressively but could not benefit from their early possession.
DR Congo goalkeeper Efong Liyongo Brudel was called into action to punch out Bobosi Byaruhanga freekick and the shot stopper also easily collected a weak shot from Kakooza.
Byekwaso was forced into an early change when Steven Sserwadda was stretchered off for Bright Anukani.
The introduction of Sam Ssenyonjo, Najib Yiga at the hour-mark, coming on for Mukwala and Kakooza, was timely but the new duo could not impact the game as expected.
The forwards were starved of possession mostly in the second half as the likes of Julius Poloto and Karim Watambala failed to create chances.
DR Congo were solid and strong in one-on-one situations and stepped into control as the game proceeded.
Mpia Nzengeli Maxi beat Musa Ramathan but was denied by Uganda.
Beya Tumuteka Joel slipped into the area when he was teed up by Karim Kimvuidi while Ikanga Lombo fired over the bar.
Uganda – Charles Lukwago, Enock Walusimbi(C), Aziz Kayondo, Musa Ramathan, Peter Magambo, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Steven Sserwadda, Karim Watambala, Steven Mukwala, Julius Poloto, Derrick Kakooza.
*DR Congo – Efong liyongo, Ebuela Steven, Nsundi Nlandu, Mpia Nzengeli, Kikasa Wamba, Beya Tumuteka, Karim Kimvuidi, Henock Mangindula, Ivandi Mangoba, Katumbwe Mokonzi, Ntambwe Kalonji (C)