Ndeye Awa Diakhate and Nguenar Ndiaye were on the mark as Senegal beat Uganda 2-0 in the sides’ opening game at the Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco yesterday.
Senegal had an early seventh minute chance from the corner parried away by Ugandan custodian Ruth Aturo.
That set the tone for Uganda, who went unchanged with the team that beat Zambia 5-0 in the pre-tournament friendly, to grow into the game and they seemed to grow from strength to strength in the buildup phase before they conceded but lacked the finishing touches in Senegal’s box.
Fauzia Najjemba hit the upright from Hasifah Nassuna’s 32nd minute freekick.
She then also forced a save from Senegal keeper Tenning Sene just after Uganda had conceded. Replays show that there was contact during her run but the player did not appeal for a penalty.
On the other hand, Hapsatou Diallo went down immediately when she felt contact from a lunging Aisha Nantongo and the penalty was awarded for Diakhate to convert the opener.
The goal made it easy for Senegal who wanted to play on the break from the start.
Ugandan coach George Lutalo reacted by pulling out Nassuna and Viola Nambi, both of whom had grown into the game, for Phiona Nabbumba and Fazila Ikwaput respectively.
The changes looked surprising because of the players taken off but they also seemed to be pre-planned.
Lutalo was always going to give Ikwaput, who had hitherto scored six goals for him in six games, ‘enough’ time to affect the game while Nabbumba was always the first name off his bench during the Cecafa Women Championship.
Senegal’s second goal came in the 50th minute as Ndiaye intercepted Yudaya Nakayenze’s pass back to Nantongo to run all the way and round Aturo.
There were concerns that Uganda’s defence that had conceded just six goals in Lutalo’s first 11 games had been riding their luck and it showed against a more exposed attack. But the attack that had managed 27 also fell agonizingly short.
Lutalo called on Sandra Nabweteme at the half-hour mark tasking her to provide creativity behind the attacking line but even her industry was not enough against a deep sitting Senegal defence.
The result, however, leaves Uganda – who play hosts Morocco tomorrow – bottom of Group A on goal difference, something Lutalo’s charges will need to resolve if they are to make it out of the group. Morocco beat Burkina Faso 1-0 on Saturday.
Group A standings
TEAM M W D L F A Pts
1.Senegal 1 1 0 0 2 2 3
2.Morocco 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
3.Burkina Faso 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
4.Uganda 1 0 0 1 0 2 3
Ratings of starting XI
Commanding at the start and hardly at fault.
Poor decision, communication.
Short of confidence after that pass for second goal.
Hardly exposed but no effect in attack
Targeted by wingers, caught out of position regularly.
Tidy in possession
Taken off as she grew into the game
Needlessly over elaborative on the ball
Had the Senegal defence dance to her tunes then she was taken off
Looked up for it in first half
A tough day out. Needs to do more than wait for chances
Will struggle to forget the halftime substitutions.