Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) striker Allan Okello struck twice to give a wasteful Uganda Cranes a 2-0 victory over Somalia, keeping the CECAFA Senior Challenge hosts at the summit of Group B with six points.
The Monday evening clash at the KCCA Stadium Lugogo- Kampala, Uganda was a one-sided affair with Somalia only finding pride in few highlights that would however end with nothing to show for.
Earlier at the same venue, Eritrea staged the so far upset of the tournament, with a 1-0 victory over Burundi. Robel Kidale’s goal at the stroke of halftime was all Eritrea needed to edge a lacklustre Burundi, whose second straight loss leaves them on the brink of elimination at the regional tourney.
Poignantly, Eritrea had every reason to celebrate as they are returning to the tournament after seven years in the cold following the ban imposed on them in 2012.
They had lost to Uganda 2-1 on Saturday, thus will need to beat Djibouti and Somalia to keep and hope results for the other members of Group A favour them to advance to the last four.
Hassan Abdinur Gessy would have opened the scores in the first minute, a miscommunication in the Cranes defence giving him space in the box but he shot inches off target.
Mustapha Kizza responded almost immediately with his effort being deflected for a corner which was well dealt with by Somalia custodian Said Aweys Ali.
Fahad Bayo’s header from a Joel Madondo’s corner in the 7th minute missed narrowly at the left post with Aweys Ali beaten, before another one from Joakim Ojera was cleared to the relief of Somalia, who were completely lost in the opening 10 minutes.
Paul Willa was lurking from the right channel when he was well picked by Khalid Lwaliwa, and noticing a big space in the Somalia back line, he fired a thunderous shot from 30 yards which Aweys had to parry out for safety. The resulting corner was wasted courtesy of Bayo and Ojera’s simple misunderstanding.
Somalia were stubborn in their defence, captain Ahmed Said Ahmed and Omar Sharif Kale doing the donkey work to halt Uganda’s intentions at their goal. The stubbornness however was weathered in the 28th minute when Okello’s grass cutter outside the 18-yard box beat Aweys Ali for the opener.
Bayo grabbed the ball from Awey’s Ali hands, sliding his head on his arms but he could not direct the ball into the back of the net.
In the 35th minute, Bright Anukali danced around the Somali defence, but eventually looped the ball straight to the hands of the keeper as Uganda kept knocking for the second goal.
Somalia got their first shot on target through Farhan Mahamoud Omar in the 36th, which however gave keeper Charles Lukwago no trouble to handle.
With only four minutes to the break, Bayo was alone in the box against Aweys Ali, but could not finish off the well threaded move to mark a wasteful first stanza, albeit with a slim 1-0 lead.
Luck was not on Bayo’s side as three minutes into the second half, Kizza sent him a fine cross from the left wing which he connected superbly only to be denied by the crossbar with the goalkeeper already beaten.
Uganda centre back John Revita almost cost his team when he passed blindly to Safimoyo Yousef, and had to concede a handball just outside the box as he frantically fought to recover the lost possession.
The resulting free-kick was however poorly executed and Uganda would survive the rare scare from the men in white.
Substitute Ali Aden Muse swung a cross from the right to find unmarked Sifamoyo in the 64th minute, whose diving header effort was not enough to send the ball into the net.
Basking in Uganda’s territory with some glimpses of fine touches and comfort was to be inevitably punished. In the 67th, Okello completed his brace capitalising on sluggishness of evidently tired Somali defence.
Okello almost sealed a hat-trick in the 73rd minute, when he was involved in a goalmouth melee that left Aweys Ali lying flat on the ground, with two shots in a sequence unluckily hitting a forest of Somali legs.
With hopes of at least draw gone, Somalia opted to reduce damage and sat back for the most of the last quarter, as Uganda wastefulness lingered on to the last whistle.
For Citizen TV updates
Join @citizentvke Telegram channel
Video Of The Day: 5 people dead, 32 rescued, 27 unaccounted for in Tassia building collapse