Cranes battle for World Cup qualifier point

The Cranes missed a chance to go top of Group E, their world cup qualifying group following another draw this time against Mali at the St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende yesterday.

The Cranes drew goalless with Mali in what was another disjointed display going forward on the otherwise wet surface in Kitende.

The result means that the Cranes remain third in the group level on two points with Kenya but two behind leaders Mali who are on four.

Rwanda are bottom on one point. But the Cranes will take heart from another resilient defensive display having played the final 25 minutes with 10 following Murushid Jjjuko’s needless sendoff.

Express captain Enoch Walusimbi was arguably the Cranes’ standout player holding his own in what was only his second senior Cranes appearance.

Having come on for Halid Lwalirwa in the opening game, Walusimbi excelled in central defence alongside Murushid Jjuuko.

He was later partnered with Dennis Guma after Jjuuko was sent off for elbowing an opponent as they shut out the Malian attackers. 

Substitute Mustafa Kizza’s late freekick turned out to be the Cranes best chance for goal although his effort was turned over the bar by Malian goalkeeper Ibrahim Bozzo Mounkoro. 

The goalkeeper had earlier in the half also turned away another Isaac Muleme freekick, the other notable effort of note. 

"You will see what this team can do in October against Rwanda, it's a process," Cranes coach Milutin Sredojevic stated after the game 

Uganda next travel to Rwanda is next month before they welcome the Amavubi Stars to Kampala in a back-to-back affair. 

The Cranes started the qualification campaign with another goalless draw against Kenya while Mali defeated Rwanda 1-0. 

The winner of this group will join nine others in a home and away playoff to determine who goes to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

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Published: 09/10/2021