CAIRO, Egypt, Jun 22 – Goals in either half from Patrick Kaddu and Emmanuel Okwi sqaw the Uganda Cranes start off their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign on a high with a stunning 2-0 victory over DR Congo at the Cairo International Stadium.
Faruku Miya provided both assists for Uganda’s goals as Sebastien Desabre’s side gave themselves a realistic chance of progressing to the knockout faces.
Uganda opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Kaddu raced to meet a corner from Faruku Miya before glancing it over Ley Matampi.
Kaddu should have had two more goals just after scoring, first his header from an Abdul Lumala cross from the right going inches wide unmarked at the backpost before another cross delivered by former Gor Mahia left back Godfrey Walusimbi found him again, this time keeper Ley Matampi making a save.
With the sweltering heat in Cairo, DR Congo seemed to have been overwhelmed as they lacked their usual flow and flair, Uganda dominating. It seemed, their three week training camp in Abu Dhabi was paying dividends.
Congo didn’t create much and their earliest opportunity was within the opening 10 minutes when Cedric Bakambu got the ball at the edge of the box but his shot was straight to Dennis Onyango.
On the half hour mark, a corner landed on Yannick Bollasie’s head but the Everton winger could not get it on target.
Three minutes to the break, Onyango denied Congo with a brilliant save, stretching well to his left to finger tip Bakambu’s curling effort behind for a corner.
Uganda then doubled their tally just three minutes into the second half, another calamitous piece of defending by the Leopards off a Miya freekick seeing Okwi rise from just outside the six yard box and plant his header beyond Matampi.
Eight minutes later, Matampi redeemed himself with a brilliant save leaping to his right to tip over Miya’s ferocious freekick from range behind for a corner.
Substitute Jonathan Boling came close for Congo in the 70th minute with an unconventional effort at goal. He broke the offside trap to race in to a cross, but his effort went against the bar despite leaping over Onyango.
Uganda who go top of Group A will next face Zimbabwe next Wednesday while DR Congo face a hilly task against hosts Egypt who won their opening match on Friday night.