SINAN RAJUB SENOGA
Halid Lwaliwa came off the bench to score the all-important goal as Uganda Cranes labored to overcome a resilient South Sudan side with a 1-0 win at the St. Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.
Lwaliwa replaced Sweden-based Ronald Mukiibi who limped off in the 65th minute with a hamstring injury.
Johnathan McKinstry’s charges struggled to find a breakthrough against South Sudan from the onset until the glorious moment arrived in the 85th minute.
Of all players, it was Lwaliwa who superbly guided Miya Farouk’s well delivered free-kick past the big gloves of Majak Mawith the South Sudan goalkeeper.
It was not only the winner but also a sigh of relief for the home side who labored to subdue their border neighbors to the north.
McKinstry’s offensive department had Miya Farouk, Emmanuel Okwi, Kizito Luwagga and Derrick Nsibambi but struggled to find target.
Luwagga had four attempts on goal before Miya hit the lower post in the 70th minute.
Joseph Ochaya, Khalid Aucho and second-half substitute Allan Okello, who replaced Okwi, also tried their luck on occasions but failed to beat Majak Mawith in goal.
South Sudan fielded Ugandan-born trio upfront with Tito Okello leading the line and Makweth Wol and Ivan Wani to his right and left respectively.
Makweth had the best chance of the first half and for his side but failed to hit the target when he went one on one with Dennis Onyango in the 23rd minute.
Vipers’ youngster Karim Watambala was handed a senior team debut when he replaced Aucho on 72 minutes while Edrisa Lubega came on for Nsibambi.
The victory takes The Cranes to seven points to remain top of Group B of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
The two sides will meet again in Nyayo stadium in Kenya on 16th November.