By: Danito Nsubuga
It was supposed to be a must win game for the Uganda Cranes having surrendered 2nd place to Egypt in Alexandria.
The Cranes failed on the ultimate test against a Ghana side that was lacking the core of its most senior members in Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, captain Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu and Jonathan Mensah.
Moses Basena named a strong starting eleven with Tonny Mawejje and Denis Iguma coming in for the suspended duo of Khalid Aucho and Murushid Juuko.
The first half of the match was a closely contested affair with no side making serious attacks, Ghana took the huge share of possession but it was the Cranes who had the most threatening chances of the game which fell to a blunt Farouk Miya and Denis Iguma.
Ghana’s beat chance came in the 40th minute when Fabian Acheampong close range header past Onyango was ruled out for offside by South African referee Daniel Bennet Fraser to send the match all square at half time.
The second period saw Ghana’s Kwesi Appiah ring the first changes by introducing Patrick Twumasi on for Kingsley Sarfo and Raphael Dinamena on for Frank Acheampong in the 48th and 58th minutes respectivel.
His opposite number Moses Basena responded by introducing Muzamir Mutyaba on for the ineffective Farouk Miya in the 60th minute.
The Cranes best chance of the game fell to Derrick Nsibambi who was presented with a free header from a beautiful Godfrey Walusimbi cross but the KCCA striker headed slightly wide to deny Uganda a chance to take the lead.
Nsibambi was immediately withdrawn for the experienced Geoffery Sserunkuma in the 67th minute followed by the introduction of Joseph Ochaya when Kizito Luwagga failed to recover from a hard knock by a Ghanaian defender.
The Cranes began to regain a grip on the game with some progressive passes forward but it was a little too late. It was Ghana who stole the show in the 90th minute but referee Daniel Bennet ruled their goal out for offside though video replays proved that the goal should have stood.
The Cranes’ chances of progression now lie in the hands of Congo Brazaville who they pray for, to cause an upset in Egypt. Uganda still lie in 2nd spot on 8 points behind Egypt on 9. The Pharaohs will seal qualification if they manage to dispatch Congo with a game to spare.