AFCON QUALIFIERS: IT’S NOW THE MATHEMATICS TO QUALIFY THE CRANES FOR IVORY COAST 2023.
Uganda Cranes chances of qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast in now more of a mathematical calculation than just a qualification match of 90 minutes on a football pitch. This was as a result of the Cranes failing to grab critical maximum Africa Cup of Nations qualifications points at “home” off Algeria; losing 2-1 on Sunday. 18th. June. 2023 at the Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon.
The loss to the Desert Foxes now puts the Cranes in a very critical situation that is not only in their hands and also in the hands of their competitors where they have to go for maximum points in the last game against Niger; outscore the West African side with a goal difference of at least three goals and also pray that Tanzania who are second in the group lose to Algeria in the last group games.
The Cranes needed a win against the North African side that would have taken them on same points with Tanzania going into the last games.
The Cranes started on a high but as the game progressed, the 2019 AFCON Champions took over in possession; taking the game to the Cranes and through Mohamed Amoura, they scored two goals; the Cranes’ consolation came through second-half substitute Fahad Bayo.
Algeria pressed the Cranes hard throughout the first half but the goal that the Cranes conceded in the 43rd minute was because of the mistake that goal keeper Salim Magoola did to gift the ball to the opponents in his own half.
After the break, Uganda Cranes Head Coach Milutin Sredojevic made two quick substitutions; going for more attacking option with the introducing of Bayo and Richard Bassangwa for Bobosi Byaruhanga and Milton Karisa respectively.
At 1-0 score, it was a tall order for the Cranes who massively opted to be very offensive but in so doing they ended up opening up the gaps for the visitors who exploited the situation; grabbing another goal in the 67th minute through a very quick transition counter-attack that was finished off by Amoura.
The Cranes tactician made more changes with Isma Mugulusi and Travis Mutyaba coming on in place of Farouk Miya and Emmanuel Okwi respectively but all these could only manage to push for a consolation goal through Bayo in the late stages of the game.
The result cemented Algeria’s 100% record wins; topping the group with 15 points; Tanzania in second on 7 points; Uganda in third on 4 points and Niger at the bottom of the table with only 2 points.
The Cranes will now go into the last game against Niger for a win and pray and hope that the Algerians sweep it 100% in the group with a win over Tanzania.
In the last group game; the Uganda Cranes will be away to Niger in September; and to stand any chance of qualifying, they have to fight and defeat the home team by a margin of three goals and also pray and hope that Algeria also beat Tanzania in Algeria.
MAIN PHOTO CREDIT: FUFA MEDIA.
Uganda Cranes starting XI: Salim Magoola (GK), Kenneth Semakula, Abdu Aziizi Kayondo, Gift Fred, Halidi Lwaliwa, Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Rogers Mato, Milton Karisa
Story by Joseph Mary Ssempiira www.sportznow.ug Writer.