Cranes play Tz in semis

Monday December 16 2019

Victorious. Cranes players celebrate a goal

Victorious. Cranes players celebrate a goal against Djibouti at the Star Times Stadium, Lugogo yesterday. Photo by Ismail Kezaala. 

By ELVIS SENONO

The Cranes warmed up for tomorrow’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup semi-final against Tanzania with a 4-1 win over Djibouti at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo yesterday.

For coach Jonathan McKinstry, the game marked a satisfying group stage for the Cranes who won all four games.
“Overall I would rate it as a 7/10,” the Northern Irishman summed up the games.

More importantly for him, he was again able to give a run out to various members of his squad.
“Most players have got about 180 or 200 minutes in their legs which is about two games each which is good.

It means hopefully there’s a bit of freshness going into the knockout stages. One of my experiences four years ago with Rwanda when we got to the final was that when we got to the knockout stages because we didn’t rotate there was a lack of energy and that made it more difficult to impose our style on games.

So one of our strategies was to win football matches but we also knew if we wanted to be successful deep into the tournament we needed to manage the squad and I think we did that,” McKinstry explained.
Among those that took their chance was Vipers midfielder Karim Watambala who started his second straight game.

“He wouldn’t necessarily be in the starting 11 of the Cranes if most Cranes supporters were asked but we can see what a good talent he is so that rotation has given players a platform to show what they have,” he added.

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Muzamir Mutyaba gave the Cranes a first half lead from the penalty spot following a handball in the area before three second half goals from Joachim Ojera as well as substitutes Ben Ochen and Bright Anukani.

Ojera raced onto a Watambala pass to slip the ball past the advancing goalkeeper before Djibouti pulled a goal back after Watambala lost possession.

But Ochen restored the Cranes’ two goal advantage after being set up by fellow substitute Allan Okello before a fine team move for Ojera tee up Anukani for the fourth goal.

Yesterday’s results

Somalia 0-0 Eritrea
Uganda 4-1 Djibouti

Tomorrow: Semi-finals
(StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo)
Kenya Vs Eritrea 1pm
Uganda Vs Tanzania 3.45pm

essenono@ug.nationmedia.com

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