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Nsibambi late strike earns Cranes CECAFA semis berth

Uganda’s Isaac Muleme in action for the Cranes during their CECAFA Senior Challenge match against Ethiopia at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on December 10, 2017. PHOTO/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10- Derrick Nsibambi’s goal six minutes from time earned Uganda a 1-1 draw against Ethiopia on Sunday evening as the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup defending champions did just enough to earn a ticket to the semi-finals.

Uganda had to finish the match with nine men with Isaac Muleme sent off 10 minutes to time for a second yellow, same fate Timothy Awany suffered in added time with his second booking being for time wasting.

Abdela Abubeker broke the deadlock for Ethiopia in the first half with the Walya Antelopes seemingly headed for a shock result that would earn them a last four ticket.

However, a lapse in concentration in the final minutes saw them drop the pot at the doorstep.

The Walyas however stand a chance to qualify should South Sudan beat Burundi tomorrow, but that is a long shot considering the South Sudanese are the group’s punching bag.

Abubeker tapped home from inside the box in the 21st minute after Uganda keeper Ismail Watenga spilled a shot from Yele Firew.

The Cranes shaken from the shocking result against a side that had lost 4-1 to Burundi sought an immediate response and Muzamiru Mutyaba made an attempt with a header but it went over.

Seeing his side had been totally dominated, Cranes head coach Moses Basena made changes Milton Karisa coming in for Sadam Juma who had failed to click in his first start of the tournament.

Taking in a 1-0 halftime lead, Ethiopia came back after the break determined to lock up the result by defending well. Basena made another change, bringing on Allan Katterega for Mutyaba.

On the hour mark, Uganda came close again, this time Karisa’s header going inches wide from a Joseph Nsubuga cross. Karisa came close again in the 75th minute with a stinging shot saved by the Ethiopian keeper.

Despite a numerical advantage after Muleme’s red card, Uganda piled the pressure and were rewarded in the 84th minute when Nsibambi knocked the ball home inside the box after a goalmouth melee.