Head-to-head Cranes look to 1978 feat

Tuesday January 26 2021
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Ready? The Cranes undergo drills to prepare for Morocco. PHOTO/COURTESY.

By Allan Darren Kyeyune

The Uganda Cranes will need nothing short of a victory when they face Morocco in a winner-takes-it-all Group C affair at the Chan finals in Douala, Cameroon tonight.

The Cranes will meet the Atlas Lions in a final group match at a senior continental championship for a third time in a space of 43 years.
It is a key fixture where a victory against the title holders guarantees the Cranes a place in the last eight for the first time in Chan history.

The two sides will meet for the fourth time at Stade de la Réunification with their record standing at 2-1 in favour of Uganda. We take a look at the past meetings.

March 11, 1978: Uganda 3-0 Morocco
During its fifth appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), Uganda did the unthinkable and made it out of the group stages for the first time by defeating Morocco 3-0 in the last Group B match. 

Godfrey Kisitu, Moses Nsereko and Phillip Omondi struck inside the opening 36 minutes to give Peter Okee’s side the win. The Cranes would top with four points, on-level with Tunisia but with a better goal difference. 

And they went as far as the final, losing to the hosts Ghana. Ironically in Douala tonight, the Cranes are hoping to crack that group phase barrier, having failed at the past four successive Chan appearances.

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Nov 11, 2011: Morocco 0-1 Uganda
Uganda picked its second win over the North Africans, this time in Marrakech during the LG Cup, an exhibition association football tournament. 

The Cranes, under Bobby Williamson, would finish second on four points, with a 1-0 win over the hosts part of that package. 
Mike Sserumaga scored the lone goal of the match after 47 minutes at Stade de Marrakech and by finishing second behind Cameroon, the Cranes pocketed $30,000 (Shs78m). 
Moroccan stars like Younes Belhanda, Nordin Amrabat, Nabil Dirar and Adel Taarabt featured in that encounter.

Jan 20, 2014: Morocco 3-1 Uganda
But the Moroccans found sweet revenge, picking their first win against the Cranes in the final Group B match at the Chan finals in South Africa.

This time, at Cape Town Stadium, Uganda was top of the group after a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso and the goalless draw with Zimbabwe. 

Zimbabwe and Morocco had two points each while Burkinabe had picked one after two match days. But the Cranes ironically missed making it out of the pool when Morocco won 3-1 while Zimbabwe beat Burkinabe 1-0. 

Abdessamad Rafik gave Morocco the lead on 29 minutes but Cranes’ forward Yunus Ssentamu levelled half-an-hour later with a tournament third goal to give coach Micho Sredojevic and company temporary delight. 

Morocco sealed the win thanks to Mouhcine Iajour and Abdelkabir El Ouadi goals coming in the last 20 minutes of the contest. Such memories will fuel the Cranes tonight.

Head to head...Uganda Vs Morocco

Mar. 11, 1978 - Afcon finals 
Uganda     3-0     Morocco

Nov. 11, 2011 - LG Cup 
Morocco    0-1    Uganda

Jan. 20, 2014 - Chan finals 
Morocco     3-1    Uganda

dkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com

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