Uganda made the perfect start at the Afcon Under-20 tournament, beating Mozambique 2-0 at the Stade Olympique in Nouakchott, Mauritania, yesterday.
Derrick Kakooza’s 59th minute penalty and substitute Steven Sserwadda’s late finish took the Hippos top of Group A ahead of Cameroon, who had edged hosts Mauritania 1-0 24 hours earlier.
In a game between two debutants, Police striker Kakooza was instrumental in teeing up Sserwadda for the second.
The first half ended goalless but with the Hippos in command after curving out numerous openings.
The clearest of them all saw forward Ivan Bogere’s header from a deep Gavin Kizito cross parried away by Simone Lipanga in the Mozambican goal.
There were also a couple of look-ins for forward Richard Basangwa, who was always looking to cut in from the right.
But it was not until the second half that the Hippos got their first goal when the referee spotted a handball from defender Aylton Messias as Kakooza headed the ball across the opposition box.
The striker took on the penalty taking duties confidently sending the goalkeeper the wrong way as he dispatched his effort to his right hand side.
The 57th minute goal gave the Morley Byekwaso-coached side more confidence having often been let down by rash decisions in the final third.
But with space opening up as Mozambique chased the result, Kakooza teed up Sserwadda after a fine cross Najib Yiga for the substitute to thump home the second that went in off the crossbar.
The Hippos return to action tomorrow against Cameroon with a win guaranteeing qualification to the quarterfinals.
The top two teams from the three groups progress of the competition expanded to 12 teams alongside the two best third-placed teams.
2021 Afcon U-20 finals
Uganda 2-0 Mozambique
Cameroon 1 -0 Mauritania
Cameroon vs. Uganda 7pm
Mauritania vs. Mozambique 10pm
Group A standing
Team P W D L F A Pts
1.Uganda 1 1 0 0 2 0 3
2.Cameroon 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
3.Mauritania 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
4.M’mbique 1 0 0 1 0 2 0