KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 9 – After returning to the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup for the first time in almost six years, Eritrea posted a shocking result at the 2019 showpiece, beating fancied Burundi 1-0 n their opening Group A match at the Lugogo Arena on Monday afternoon.
Robel Kidane scored the solo goal for the Eritreans at the stroke of halftime to give Eritrea a vital three points and diminish Burundi’s hopes of qualifying to the semi finals.
To qualify to the last eight, Burundi will must now win against Somalia and Djibouti in their final two games and hope Eritrea lose their remaining games.
“Today I don’t understand what happened to my players. We couldn’t pass the ball, we couldn’t run and we were not at our best. Now the chances are slim but we have to win the next two games to leave with pride,” Burundi coach Olivier Niyungeko told Capital Sport.
Kidane taped the ball home after Ali Suleman Ibrahim’s earlier shot off the counter was blocked by the keeper. It was a goal they fully deserved especially after missing several open chances before that.
Off a counter Deyben Hinteseab broke through on goal from the middle of the pack, but his effort one on one with the keeper hit the upright and the rebound hacked away by the Burundi backline.
Robel Teklemichael also had a similar chance when he also broke free through the middle to face the Burundi keeper one on one, but shockingly placed his shot wide when it was harder to miss than score.
Burundi’s best chance of the half came midway through but defender Filmon Semere cleared the ball off the line after he raced back to cover his goalkeeper when Elphase Ndayisenga’s shot evaded his grasp.
In the second half, Burundi piled all the pressure they could on the Eritreans, but their attacking play was hugely thwarted by a spirited defense from the Red Sea Boys.