Congo Devils hit Uganda Cranes

Thursday March 1 2012

Mawejje will miss the return leg at Namboole after being red carded yesterday.

Mawejje will miss the return leg at Namboole after being red carded yesterday. PHOTO BY eddie chicco  

By Andrew Mwanguhya


Congo Brazaville 3-1 Uganda
Burundi 2-1 Zimbabwe
Madagascar 0-4 Cape Verde
Ethiopia 0-0 Benin
Tanzania 1-1 Mozambique
Rwanda 0-0 Nigeria
Seychelles 0-4 DR Congo
Chad 3-2 Malawi
Kenya 2-1 Togo

Bobby Williamson and his Cranes side went to Congo Brazzaville hoping to snatch that vital away goal but didn’t have plans of conceding three in return.

A deflected goal off Henry Kalungi in the very first minute and two second half strikes by Lepicier Tsonga and Missilou Massamba were just half the story as the Red Devils controlled of the second period to faint Uganda’s hopes of making 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.

Mike Sserumaga struck Uganda’s consolation that will have given Bobby and his side a lifeline heading into the return leg on June 15 with the scoreline reading 1-3. But they will have to confront that one without Tonny Mawejje following the midfielder’s sending off late in the second half after two bookable offenses.

The Cranes started in the worst possible way, losing possession immediately after kick-off and Kalungi conceding a free kick in a dangerous area. Oscar Ewolo stepped up to take the free kick and the ball deflected off Henry Kalungi past Dennis Onyango into the net.

The Congolese were dictating matters by now, Fabrice Ondoma-Nguessi, Tsonga and Moussilu orchestrating play. Andy Mwesigwa’s central defensive partnership with surprise inclusion, Kalungi, ahead of the usual pairing with Isaac Isinde showed leaks and could only hold until letting loose in the second half. The Cranes recomposed themselves and hit back when Godfrey Walusimbi’s surging run produced a cross for Sserumaga to drive and equalise on 26 minutes.

Then after a series of superb saves by Onyango, the Cranes witnessed a worrying scene as the goalkeeper was carried off injured after 30 minutes to be replaced by Abel Dhaira who made two match-winning saves to keep Uganda in the game going into half time.

Dhaira started second half the way he ended the first, forced to work throughout the entire 45 minutes.
But he could not do little to stop Tsonga’s 69th minute spot kick as the pressure cooker forced Mwesigwa to concede a penalty, nor could the IBV goalkeeper’s reflexes stop Missilou when the Congolese beat the offside trap with 10 minutes to go.

Not even late substitutions of Emma Okwi for Sserunkuma and Brian Umony for Sserumaga could earn Uganda that vital second goal. And Swedish-born Martin Mutumba will have to wait for another chance for his national debut after he saw this out on the bench.