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Okwi scores as Uganda shock Egypt

Uganda Cranes players line up before facing Harambee Stars in an international friendly match on August 31, 2016/Timothy Olobulu

KAMPALA, Uganda, Aug 31- Emmanuel Okwi scored the solitary goal as Uganda Cranes kept their unbeaten run in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, beating African Cup of Nations finalists Egypt 1-0 at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala on Thursday.

The Cranes never showed any blues of suffering the effects of the absence of their charismatic former coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic as they played their first competitive match since his departure.

His successor Moses Basena masterminded a tactical win over the Pharaohs.

The win takes the Cranes to seven points, top of their qualification group and they can move an inch closer to a ticket in Russia if they manage positive results in the return tie next Tuesday in Alexandria.

The hosts had been the better side with countless goal scoring opportunities in the opening half.

Egyptian legendary goalkeeper Essam ElHadary was called upon twice to tame seemingly goal bound shots from Okwi and a powerful header from Derrick Nsibambi.

The Pharoahs had a goal disallowed by Soliman Mohamoud for off side in the 35th minute.

In the second half, Uganda stepped up and had their goal when Okwi danced away from his markers inside the box before unleashing a low shot that beat El Hadary.

Uganda managed to contain the Pharaohs despite having their full arsenal including Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah, Arsenal’s Mohamed ElNeny and West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi.

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Late in the game, Salah had a chance to draw Egypt level but his shot after Uganda keeper Onyango had missed a cross hit a teammate’s back as it seemingly headed into the net.

Onyango was cautioned late on for time wasting as Uganda looked to wind down the clock and pick the three points.

Second placed Ghana will face Congo Brazzaville in the other group match on Friday.

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