Moses Basena’s Uganda Cranes side now have a one point cushion at the top of their of World Cup qualifying Group E table following their 1-0 win over closet rivals, Egypt on Thursday.
Just after Egypt coach Hector Cuper had made his first substitution during halftime with Ramadan Sobhi coming on for Mahmoud Hassan “Trezeguet”, El Hadary stopped Faruku Miya’s low shot in the 50th minute and Uganda earned a corner from the save. On the resulting corner, Okwi got the ball on the far post, exposing Mohamed Abdel-Shafy by dribbling past him and slotting it into the goal despite Hegazi’s near goal saving sliding tackle to give Uganda a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute.
Earlier, the game had seemed to take a different direction when Egypt scored in the 35th minute, with two offside passes, with Karhaba tapping it in, but the referee called it back.
The Pharaohs continued to press in the closing stages, but Stoke remained resolute to earn their first win of the Premier League season.
Seven minutes of injury time were added due to the ball keeping tactics of Uganda throughout the second match. Egypt had a last chance in the 90’+4 with Salah volleying it off a corner but he hit teammate Hegazi in the back.
With the loss, Egypt goes second in Group E with six points while Uganda go top with seven points. Ghana are in third with one point and Congo are last with no points. The Black Stars play Congo on Friday.
Only the top position team in the group qualifies for the World Cup in Russia, while everyone else is eliminated from contention.
“When you play against Egypt and win and top the group, it gives you confidence,” Basena said in the post match press conference. “It is sweet while it lasts. A number of our players are yet to start their season. Many of them are yet to get their sharpness.
“It was a difficult game. It was difficult to adapt to the pitch. We tried different formations in vain,” Egypt coach reasoned.
Uganda’s next game is once again against Egypt on September 5 at the Borg El-Arab stadium in Alexandria.
Uganda Cranes XI: Denis Onyango (GK), Nico Wakiro Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Isaac Isinde, Murushid Juuko, Wasswa Hassan Mawanda,Khalid Aucho, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Geofrey Sserunkuma), Faruku Miya (Luwagga Kizito), Derrick Nsibambi, Joseph Benson Ochaya (Isaac Muleme)
Egypt XI: El-Hadary; Abdel-Shafy, Hegazi, Rabia, Fathi; Hamed, Elneny, Abdallah El-Said, Trezeguet, Salah; Kahraba. It is worth noting that this was Rami Rabia’s first appearance for the national team since June of 2016.