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Uganda almost assured as Nigeria first to make knock-outs

2019 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS:

(Egypt, 21 June – 19 July)

Uganda Group ‘A’ matches:

22 June 2019, 16.30: DR Congo 0-2 Uganda, match No. 2 – Cairo International Stadium

26 June 2019, 19.00: Uganda 1-1 Zimbabwe, match No. 14 – Cairo International Stadium

30 June 2019, 21.00: Uganda v Egypt, match No. 25 – Cairo International Stadium

Burundi Group ‘B’ matches:

22 June 2019, 19.00: Nigeria 1-0 Burundi, match No. 3 – Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria

27 June 2019, 16.30: Madagascar v Burundi, match No. 16 – Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria

30 June 2019, 18.00: Burundi v Guinea, match No. 28 – Al Salam Stadium, Cairo

Kenya Group ‘C’ matches:

23 June 2019, 22.00: Algeria 2-0 Kenya, match No. 6 –  30 June Stadium, Cairo

27 June 2019, 22,00: Kenya v Tanzania, match No. 18 – 30 June Stadium, Cairo

01 July 2019, 21.00: Kenya v Senegal, match No. 20 – 30 June Stadium, Cairo

Tanzania Group ‘C’ matches:

23 June 2019, 19.00: Senegal 2-0 Tanzania, match No. 5 – 30 June Stadium, Cairo

27 June 2019, 22,00: Kenya v Tanzania, match No. 18 – 30 June Stadium, Cairo

01 July 2019, 21.00: Tanzania v Algeria, match No. 30 –  Al Salam Stadium, Cairo

Uganda 1-1 Zimbabwe

THE knock-out stage beckoned for Uganda after drawing 1-1 with Zimbabwe in an intensive match at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night. Uganda had already won their opening Group ‘A’ match beating Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) 2-0 on June 22.

Zimbabwe had earlier lost 0-1 to Egypt and must now win convincingly against DR Congo in their last matches to have any chances of qualifying.

Both teams had periods of domination and each missed chances including from six yards out. The Uganda Cranes goalie keeper Dennis Onyango of South Africa club Mamelodi Sundowns showed why he is one of the best in the continent with an outstanding save. Uganda on the verge of the last 16.

Top: Uganda celebrate Emmanuel Okwi’s opening goal against Zimbabwe. Above: The Cranes starting line-up at Cairo International Stadium

Top: Uganda celebrate Emmanuel Okwi’s opening goal against Zimbabwe. Above: The Cranes starting line-up at Cairo International Stadium

Uganda took an early lead through Emmanuel Okwi’s close-range finish after Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova had parried Lumala Abdu’s shot. But Zimbabwe equalised when Khama Billiat scored after fine work down the left wing from team-mate Ovidy Karuru.

Zimbabwe’s Knowledge Musona and Uganda’s Patrick Kaddu both missed glorious chances to get a winning goal. Musona hit the crossbar when faced with an open goal from only four yards out and then, after Zimbabwe’s Evans Rusike had a shot saved on the goalline, Kaddu volleyed over from six yards with the goal empty.

Uganda defender Godfrey Walusimbi (left) and Zimbabwe captain Kennedy Musona on the floor, exhausted

Uganda defender Godfrey Walusimbi (left) and Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona on the floor, exhausted

Zimbabwe, who were aiming for only their third win at an Cup of Nations finals, now have to beat DR Congo in their final group match on Sunday to have a chance of making it out of the group phase for the first time.

TEAMS:

UGANDA:

Substitution: 23 Michael AZIRA (6 Taddeo LUWAGA, 62′); 7 Emmanuel OKWI (21 Allan KYAMBADDE, 73′); 17 Farouq MIYA (3 Timothy AWANY, 89′)

Scorer: 7 Emmanuel OKWI (12’)

The Zimbabwean starters against Uganda on Wednesday night

The Zimbabwean starters against Uganda on Wednesday night

ZIMBABWE:

Substitution:  7 Talent CHAWAPIWA (9 Evans RUSIKE, 64’); 21 Thabani KAMUSOKO (8 Marshal MUNETSI, 66’)

Scorer:  11 Khama BILLIAT (40’)

Khama Billiat, scored for Zimbabwe and throughout the match was as brilliant as ever

Khama Billiat, scored for Zimbabwe and throughout the match was as brilliant as ever

Nigeria 1-0 Guinea

Kenneth Omeruo’s header in the 73rd minute was all Nigeria needed to beat Guinea on Wednesday, and become the first team to reach the round of 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Three-time winners Nigeria scored the only goal when Moses Simon’s right-wing corner was headed in at the near post by Omeruo.

Kenneth Omeruo is happy with his winner for Nigeria against Guinea in Alexandria on Wednesday

Kenneth Omeruo is happy with his winner for Nigeria against Guinea in Alexandria on Wednesday

Nigeria now have six points from their two games after a 1-0 win over Burundi in their first match on Saturday. The top two nations in each of the six groups advance, along with the four best third-placed countries.

Nigeria dropped captain John Mikel Obi, who played for Middlesbrough in 2018-19, but their side did include Brighton defender Leon Balogun, Stoke midfielder Peter Etebo, Leicester midfielder Wilfried Ndidi and Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi.

The Gunners man had one of the best chances when it was goalless with a curled effort from just outside the penalty area, but Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone produced a spectacular one-handed save to push it over the bar.

Guinea’s side included Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, who was making his first start for club or country since 1 May, when he picked up a groin injury in the Reds’ 3-0 loss to Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

However, Keita received some strong challenges and only lasted 71 minutes before he was substituted. He was replaced just before a Nigeria corner and Guinea, who now have one point from their two matches, went behind instantly thanks to Omeruo’s header.

Nigeria have a maximum six points, Madagascar and Guinea one each and Burundi are pointless in  Group ‘B’. The Burundians and Malagasies meet on Thursday. Although the Super Eagles are not guaranteed to finish first, they are certain of a top-two finish and a place in the next round. Burundi take on Guinea and Madagascar face Nigeria in the final round of group games on Sunday.

-Additional reporting by Correspondents, Agencies and cafonline

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