Saturday, October 16
*URA FC (Uganda) 0-0 Al Masry (Egypt)
Short-handed URA FC held Egyptian giants Al Masry in the first leg of the second round of the 2021/21 CAF Confederation Cup at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.
The result leaves the Tax Collectors reeling ahead of the return leg on October 23 in Egypt but they will feel contented given the circumstances.
URA FC were dealt with a huge blow when 13 of their players, including captain Shafic Kagimu, Viane Ssekajugo and Steven Mukwala, returned positive tests and missed the match.
Al Masry missed from the spot with Amr Moussa’s kick rattling the lower post of Nafian Alionzi’s goal frame while Farid Shawki was also denied by the woodwork in an eventful first half.
URA FC were dominant in the second half and built up steam as the game progressed but could not find a way past the Green Eagles.
Defender Najib Fessali hit the post while Davis Ssali fired wide after goalkeeper Ahmed Massoud had spilled an initial cross.
URA FC Persevere Amidst Hardships
Thirteen URA FC players tested positive and consequently, the club had to improvise with just four substitutes – Farouk Katongole, Mikidad Ssenyonga, Arafat Galiwango and Benjamin Nyakoojo.
It could have gone worse if goalkeeper Nafian Alionzi got injured, as the side had no second choice on the bench.
They almost conceded when Christian Emeka Eze combined with Austin Iwuji Amutu, only for the later to send his effort over the bar to fluff a keeper-to-beat chance.
URA FC struggled to settle into the game as Al Masry kept on asking plenty of questions and it was no surprise when the visitors were awarded with a penalty.
Amutu side stepped Fessali who tripped the striker into the box for the referee to point to the spot.
The experienced Moussa could only send his penalty kick on the bottom of the post.
That reprieve brought a raucous response from the few URA FC supporters but URA FC continued to be sloppy with possession.
They however improved in the second half and came close a couple of times; Joachim Ojera beat Ahmed Shedid but his shot could not beat the goalkeeper while Ssali wasted a good opportunity to send his effort wide.
URA FC will need prayers to have the likes of Kagimu back for Saturday’s return leg.
They beat Ethiopian Coffee home and away but they will be aware that Al Masry is a far more experienced side.
Al Masry Leaves With Mixed Emotions
Al Masry will feel that they should have left Kitende with all three points, not just a point, given they dominated the better part of the game and even missed a penalty.
However, a goalless draw is a result they would have accepted even before kickoff.
The game was in their control until that URA FC substitution that saw Mikidad Ssenyonga come on for Davis Ssali as the former gave the hosts more stability in the middle of the park.
They would have killed off the game in the opening minutes after creating some good scoring chances.
They will fancy their chances at home but Coach Moine Chaâbani who has won the Champions League twice with Esperance, has lived enough to know that this tie is far from over.
URA XI – Nafian Alionzi (G.K), Ashraf Mandela, Derrick Ndahiiro, Hudu Mulikyi, Fesali Najib, Patrick Paul Mbowa (Captain), Joackim Ojera, Saidi Kyeyune, Davis Ssali, Ivan Sserubiri, Ronald Kigongo
Al Masry XI – Ahmed Massoud, Karim El Eraky, Ahmed Shedid Qenawi, Islam Salah, Amr Moussa, Farid Shawky, Emeka Christian Eze, E Attiya, Mohamed Antar, Abdelhalim Ali, Amutu Austin
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