Kenya open the door for Mali to secure early advancement

Kenya open the door for Mali to secure early advancement
Kenya captain Michael Olunga

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 11, 2021. 17:39

Kenya dealt a major blow to Uganda’s 2022 World Cup Qualification hopes by holding the hosts 1-1 at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende, Entebbe by East African derby rivals Kenya on Thursday afternoon.

Kenya looked the stronger team in the opening quarter of the match, putting together some fine passing moves and denying the hosts any significant time on the ball.


The Harambee Stars should have gone ahead on 23 minutes when they put captain Michael Olunga clean through on goal, but he was denied one-on-one by a brilliant save from Uganda goalkeeper Charles Lukwago.

The Cranes had their first notable chance on 28 minutes when Byaruhanga Bobosi had a shot on goal from a free kick which was spilled by goalkeeper Brian Bwire, and the rebound was then fired wide by Bevis Mugabi.

Uganda gradually settled into the game and made it a more even contest, though they nearly fell behind late in the first half when a scramble in the penalty saw the ball poked toward goal and it took a heroic clearance off the line from Abdul Kayondo to see the score stay at 0-0 heading into the interval.

Uganda made a double change at the start of the second stanza, introducing Milton Karisa and Ibrahim Orit, with the latter almost having an immediate impact with a shot on 48 minutes that flashed just wide of the target.

Yet it was the Harambee Stars who would break the deadlock just after the hour mark: a free kick whipped into the box found Olunga free at the back post, and the Kenyan skipper directed his header beyond the reach of Lukwago to make it 1-0.

Uganda had half-chances to level the game through substitutes Yunus Sentamu (who shot over in the 67th minute) and Allen Okello (who headed off target on 72 minutes), but they continued to be frustrated.

However, the Cranes were finally able to make their pressure pay on 89 minutes when Fahad Bayo stole the ball off Bwire in the penalty area and netted from close range, securing a 1-1 draw for the hosts.

The teams will wrap up their stage campaign in the coming days, with Uganda visiting Mali in Agadir (Morocco) on Sunday 14 November, before Kenya host Rwanda in Nairobi the following day.

Uganda (0) 1 (Bayo 89’)

Kenya (0) 1 (Olunga 61’)

Uganda: Lukwago, Aucho, Awani (Kizza 79’), Bay, Bobosi (Okello 70’), Iguma, Kayondo (Orit 46’), Mugabi, Mukwala (Karisa 46’), Muleme, Waiswa (Sentamu 63’)

Kenya: Bwire, Abdallah, Akumu, Muguna, Nondi, Ochieng, Okumu, M. Olunga, Omar, S. Onyango (Ouma 73’), Wambani (Tera 61’ [M.Mohammed 90+3’])

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