Monday Sep 06, 2021. 17:35
Mali were held to a 0-0 draw by hosts Uganda in their 2022 World Cup Qualifying Group E match at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende in Entebbe on Monday afternoon.
The Cranes ended the match with 10 men following the second-half dismissal of Murushid Juuko, while the result sees the Eagles sitting comfortably at the top of the standing with four points, while Uganda and Kenya are level on two points apiece and Rwanda complete the log with one point.
Both teams took their time to settle into the game, with Mali ultimately taking control of possession and pushing Uganda onto the back foot. However, the West Africans struggled to provide any meaningful service to forwards Adama M. Traore, Moussa Doumbia and Ibrahima Kone.
The Eagles tested out Uganda goalkeeper Ismail Watenga on a couple of occasions but in truth the Chippa United gloves-man was well protected by his defence.
The Cranes, though, produced little in the way of proactive football, struggling to build any passing patterns or rhythms at the times when they did have possession.
Their best attacking foray was an early free kick from Isaac Muleme which was comfortably dealt with by Malian ‘keeper Ibrahim Mounkoro.
The score was locked at 0-0 at the half-time interval, with the start of the second stanza seeing Mali continue where they left off, before boosting their attack with the introduction of Adama N. Traore on the hour mark.
Uganda were reduced to 10 men on 66 minutes when Murushid Juuko picked up a second caution and was shown a red card, leaving the hosts to play with a numerical disadvantage for the final quarter of the match.
Both Adama Traores had chances and tested out Watenga, while Uganda very nearly broke the deadlock against the run of play on 77 minutes when Mustafa Kizza shot on target direct from a free kick, but Mounkoro made an excellent save.
The Cranes were ultimately able to hold out for a 0-0 draw, though their opponents now have full control on the group and have firmly established themselves as the favourites to progress into the final round of qualifying.
Uganda and Mali will return to Group E action in October, with the Cranes taking on Rwanda in back-to-back matches and the Eagles facing Kenya both home and away.
Uganda: Watenga, Juuko, Iguma, Walusimbi, Muleme, Bobosi (Waiswa 80’), Aucho, Nsibambi (Mukwala 80’), Ochaya (Kizza 69’), Karisa (Orit 89’), Okwi (Wafula 69’)
Mali: Mounkoro, H. Traore, Sacko, C. Traore, Kouyate, Samassekou, Camara (A.N. Traore 60’), Haidara, A.M. Traore, Kone (H. Sinayoko 86’), Doumbia (L. Sinayoko 86’)