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Uganda in flying start as Burundi stumble; Kenya, Tanzania make AFCON starts Sunday

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 v 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 v 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 v 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 surprisingly beat Democratic Republic of Congo 2-0 on Saturday to record their first Africa Cup of Nations victory in 41 years. It shot up Uganda’s dreams of playing as well as they did to reach the actual Final in 1978 where they lost to Ghana 2-0. Could the Cranes’ good times be back?

Uganda’s East African rivals, Kenya and Tanzania go into action on Sunday while the fourth team in the region, Burundi, fell 0-1 to Nigeria on Saturday. Kenya face off with Algeria and Tanzania tackle Senegal in Group ‘C’ action.

Top: Emmanuel Okwi after scoring the second goal for the Cranes at the Cairo International Stadium. Above: The Uganda Cranes who started the AFCON campaign against DR Congo

Top: Emmanuel Okwi after scoring the second goal for the Cranes at the Cairo International Stadium. Above: The Uganda Cranes who started the AFCON campaign against DR Congo

DR Congo 0-2 Uganda

Forward Patrick Kaddu opened the scoring, heading in from a Farouq Miya taken corner after a well-timed run to the near post after 14 minutes. Strike partner Emmanuel Okwi’s glancing header from a free-kick then doubled the lead three minutes after half-time.

Egypt defeated Zimbabwe 1-0 in the tournament’s opening match on Friday.

Uganda lost all three group matches in 2017, in what was their first Africa Cup of Nations appearance since finishing runners-up in 1978.

Farouq Miya (No. 17) backed by compatriot Khalid Aucho (right) takes on DR Congo’s Marcel Tisserand (left) in Cairo

Uganda Cranes’ forward Farouq Miya (No. 17) backed by compatriot Khalid Aucho (right) takes on DR Congo’s Marcel Tisserand (left) in Cairo

In Cairo on Saturday, the lively Kaddu had two great opportunities to add to his tally with first-half headers, while team-mate Khalid Aucho saw a powerful long-range effort saved by DR Congo’s Ley Matampi.

Substitute Jonathan Bolingi had the best opportunity for two-time champions DR Congo — whose starting XI included English Premier League’s West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku and Everton’s Yannick Bolasie — but the Antwerp forward’s header struck the top of the crossbar.

Next, Uganda will face Zimbabwe on Wednesday, while DR Congo take on Egypt later that day.

DR Congo were favourites going into the game against Uganda. You could even feel the Congolese mood before kickoff. Their entrance was as colourful as usual, with their customary singing and dancing.

But after 90 minutes, the scoreboard had a result that will definitely cause a lot of anger in Kinshasa. The Leopards, two-time winners, did not show up.

The Cranes on the contrary arrived quietly, kept their cool and stuck to their game plan — which was to control the midfield. And that paid off. A first win is something every team needs for confidence.

Ugandans will be smiling every time they look at the Group ‘A’ table at the moment. DR Congo, with an ageing squad, will be hoping for a better result next time out when they must deal with the small matter of the host nation.

TEAMS:

DR CONGO – 1 Ley MATAMPI: 2 Issama DJOS, 5 Marcel TISSERAND, 14 Arthur MASUAKU, 15 Christian LUYINDAMA, 10 Paul Jose MPOKU (9 Jonathan BOLINGI, 52’), 18 Merveille POPE, 22 Chancel MBEMBA, captain (20 Jacques MAGHOMA, 60’), 11 Yannick BOLASIE (19 Britt ASSOMBALONGA, 71’), 13 Elia MESCHAK, 17 Cédric BAKAMBU

Reserves not used – 6 Anthony MOSSI (gk), 23 Parfait MANDANDA (gk); 3 Ngonda MUZINGA, 4 Bodrick UNGENDA, 12 Wilfred MOKE, 21 Wadol DJUMA, 6 Akolo CHADRACK, 7 Youssouf MULUMBU, 8 Mabi MPUTU

Coach: Florent IBENGÉ (DR Congo)

UGANDA – 18 Dennis ONYANGO: 4 Murshid JJUUKO, 5 Bevis MUGABI, 15 Godfrey WALUSIMBI, 16 Hassan WASSWA, 8 Khalid AUCHO, 17 Farouq MIYA (3 Timothy AWANY, 88’), 22 Abdu LUMALA (20 Isaac MULEME, 81’), 23 Michael AZIRA, 7 Emmanuel OKWI, 9 Patrick KADDU (21 Allan KYAMBADDE, 75’)

Reserves not used – Robert ODONGKARA (gk), 19 Jamal Salim MAGOOLA (gk); 2 Joseph OCHAYA, 12 Ronald MUKIIBI, 14 Nico WADADA, 6 Taddeo LWANGA, 10 William KIZITO, 13 Allan KATEREGGA, 11 Derrick NSIBAMBI

Scorers: 9 Patrick KADDU (14’), 7 Emmanuel OKWI (48’)

Coach: Sébastien DESABRE (France)

Kenya captain Victor Wanyama all set to lead out his men against Algeria in Cairo on Sunday

Kenya captain Victor Wanyama all set to lead out his men against Algeria in Cairo on Sunday

Nigeria 1-0 Burundi

Three-time winners and 2013 champions Nigeria edged past tournament debutants Burundi at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.

Second half substitute Odion Ighalo scored the only goal after 77 minutes in Alexandria with a curled finish past Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.

Burundi — the lowest-ranked side at the tournament — had struck the crossbar in the first half through defender Frederic Nsabiyumva’s looping header.

The FC Midtjylland striker Paul Onuachu had Nigeria’s first real chance on goal after 12 minutes as his header forced Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana in to action.

Burundi, 134th in the world standings, remained unfazed and Cedric Amissi’s close-range shot required a good save from Nigeria’s Daniel Akpeyi.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Villarreal 20-year-old Samuel Chukwueze offered the Super Eagles’ main attacking threat, but Gernot Rohr’s side were frustrated by a resolute and organised Burundi side – captained by Stoke City striker Saido Berahino – until Ighalo’s introduction.

The Shanghai Greenland Shenhua striker, formerly of Watford, produced a quality finish just four minutes after entering the field, following Ola Aina’s delightful back-heeled pass.

Nigeria were without striker Samuel Kalu, who had been taken to hospital after suffering from “severe dehydration” in training on Friday — a day after players’ union Fifpro had called for the tournament organisers to increase their planned number of heat breaks from two to four per match.

The Super Eagles now face Guinea on Wednesday, while Burundi take on fellow debutants Madagascar on Thursday.

TEAMS:

NIGERIA – 16 Daniel AKPEYI: 2 Temitayo AINA, 5 William EKONG, 12 Abdullahi SHEHU (20 Chidozie AWAZIEM, 42’), 22 Kenneth OMERUO, 4 Wilfred NDIDI, 8 Peter ETEBO, 10 John MIKEL OBI, captain (7 Ahmed MUSA, 58’), 13 Samuel CHUKWUEZE, 14 Ebere ONUACHU (9 Odion IGHALO, 73’), 18 Alex IWOBI

Reserves not used – 1 Ikechukwu EZENWA (gk), 23 Francis UZOHO ‏(gk); 6 Leon BALOGUN, 19 Ugochukwu OGU, 11 Henry CHUKWUEMEKA, 15 Simon MOSES, 21 Victor OSIMHEN

Scorer: 9 Odion IGHALO (77’)

Coach: Gernot ROHR (Germany)

BURUNDI –  1 Jonathan NAHIMANA: 14 Omar NGANDO, 15 Omar MOUSSA, 19 Nsabiyumva FRÉDÉRIC, 5 Gael BIGIRIMANA, 8 Gael DUHAYINDAVYI, 10 Shassiri NAHIMANA (22 Christophe NDUWARUGIRA, 76’), 20 Francis MUSTAFA (3 Elvis KAMSOBA, 59’), 7 Abdoul FISTON, 17 Amissi CEDRIC, 18 Saido BERAHINO, captain (21 Amissi MOHAMED, 90’)

Reserves not used – 13 Justin NDIKUMANA (gk): 23 Arthur ARAKAZA ‏(gk); 6 Karim NIZIGIYIMANA, 16 David NSHIMIRIMANA, 2 Enock SABUMUKAMA, 4 Pierre KWIZERA, 9 Laudit MAVUGO, 11 Selemani NDIKUMANA, 12 Hussein SHABANI

Coach: Olivier NIYUNGEKO (Burundi)

Egypt 1-0 Zimbabwe

Hosts Egypt made the ideal start to the Africa Cup of Nations by beating Zimbabwe in the opening game of the tournament in Cairo.

Mahmoud Trezeguet scored the only goal of the game with a curled finished just before half time.

Liverpool forward Mo Salah came close to doubling his side’s lead in the second half but his low drive was kept out by Zimbabwe keeper Edmore Sibanda. Ovidy Karuru had Zimbabwe’s best chance with a 30-yard strike late on.

This year’s tournament is the biggest Africa Cup of Nations ever with 24 teams, and the first to be played in Europe’s summer.

Zimbabwe goalie Edmore Sibanda (centre) retired hurt in the 80th minute during the opening 2019 AFCON match with Egypt on Friday

Zimbabwe goalie Edmore Sibanda (centre) retired hurt in the 80th minute during the opening 2019 AFCON match with Egypt on Friday

It got off to a spectacular start, with the fans inside the 75,000 capacity Cairo International Stadium treated to an eye-catching opening ceremony that featured giant pyramids on the pitch, elegant dancers forming the shape of a pharaoh’s face and culminating in a huge fireworks display.

But the game itself failed to match that level of sparkle, with Egypt dominating for large periods without troubling Sibanda in the Zimbabwe goal often.

Salah was a lively presence in the first half but put a number of efforts wide of goal and while he did manage to get one shot on target before the interval it was a routine save for Sibanda.

Just as Zimbabwe were enjoying their best spell of half, Egypt took the lead. A neat one-two allowed Trezeguet to break into the box before cutting inside his marker and then dispatching a clinical effort into the far corner.

From then on Egypt were comfortable rather than dominant. Salah forced a decent save out of Sibanda midway through the second half after being picked out by Trezeguet’s defence-splitting pass.

The Liverpool man then raced through just before full time but was this time denied by substitute goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, who had come on for the injured Sibanda with 10 minutes to go.

The win puts Egypt top of Group A, which also contains DR Congo and Uganda. Those two sides face each other on Saturday at the same ground.

Egypt’s Marwan Mohsen (left) against Zimbabwe on Friday

Egypt’s Marwan Mohsen (left) against Zimbabwe on Friday

Fireworks were abundant before kick-off but Egypt netted only once in the first half. The Pharaohs could have scored very early on but afterwards the pace of the game declined gradually but it was crucial for the morale of fans and the players to get to half time with the lead.

However, Trezeguet’s goal didn’t give the boost to the performance that was perhaps expected in the second half. The team looked even slower and lacked the rhythm needed to create a threat to the Zimbabwe goal.

In the end it was an important but unconvincing win for the hosts with lots of areas for improvement. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s performance should give them hope of competing for a place in the second round.

TEAMS:

EGYPT – 16 Mohamed ELSHENAWY: 3 Ahmed ELMOHAMADY, captain, 6 Ahmed HEGAZY, 12 Ayman ASHRAF, 20 Mahmoud ALAA, 7 Mahmoud TREZEGUET (21 Nabil EMAD, 81’), 8 Tarek HAMED, 17 Mohamed ELNENY, 19 Abdallah ELSAID (22 Amr WARDA, 72’), 9 Marwan MOHSEN (11 Walid SOLIMAN, 61’), 10 Mohamed SALAH

Reserves not used – 1 Ahmed ELSHENAWY ‏(gk), 23 Mahmoud GENISH ‏(gk); 2 Baher ELMOHAMADY, 4 Omar GABER, 13 Ahmed MANSOUR, 15 Mahmoud HAMDY, 5 Ali GHAZAL, 14 Ahmed ALI, 18 Ahmed HASSAN

Scorer: 7 Mahmoud TREZEGUET (41’)

Coach: Javier AGUIRRE (Mexico)

ZIMBABWE – 1 Edmore SIBANDA (13 Elvis CHIPEPEZE, 80’): 2 Tendayi DARIKWA, 5 Divine LUNGA, 6 Alec MUDIMU, 15 Teenage HADEBE, 8 Marshal MUNETSI, 10 Ovidy KARURU, 11 Khama BILLIAT, 17 Knowledge MUSONA, captain (7 Talent CHAWAPIWA, 85’), 18 Marvellous NAKAMBA, 23 Nyasha MUSHEKWI (9 Evans RUSIKE, 81’)

Reserves – 16 George CHIGOVA ‏(gk); 4 Ronald PFUMBIDZAI, 12 Jimmy DZINGAI, 22 Tafadzwa KUTINYU, 3 Danny PHIRI, 20 Kudakwashe MAHACHI, 21 Thabani KAMUSOKO, 14 Philana KADEWERE, 19 Knox MUTIZWA

Coach: Aaron THATCHER (—)

-Additional reporting by Correspondents, Agencies and cafonline

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