Ibrahim leads Uganda fightback in Cecafa playoff
Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup holders Uganda came from a goal down to edge out Burundi 2-1 in Sunday’s third place playoff at the Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
Saddam Juma Ibrahim’s second half brace dented Burundi’s hope of an upset win over the 14-time champions after Shashir Nahimana had given them the first half lead.
Uganda thus settled for third and will watch as a new champion is crowned later at the same venue when hosts Kenya play Zanzibar in the final at 3:30pm (EAT).
The playoff started on a low note but Burundi showed more desire. Abdoul Fiston Razak should have found the early breakthrough after some neat interplay with Shaban Hussein but his final touch let him down.
At the quater-hour mark, Tresor Ndikumana released Razak on the left channel losing his marker Bernard Muwanga but goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan was quick enough to pounce on the ball before he could pull the trigger.
The goal finally came and it was Ochan guilty of a goalkeeping howler as he failed to hold on to the ball from a corner kick and Nahimana was quickest to get the guiding touch into the back of the net.
Uganda almost levelled the 31st when an unmarked Muwanga unleashed a powerful shot inside the six yard box from a failed clearance but his effort narrowly missed the target.
Nahimana had the opportunity to grab his brace and his side’s moments later but his header hit side-netting. Razak then rattled the woodwork with a cross-cum shot as Zanzibar continued to threaten.
The second stanza started with Burundi coach Olivier Niyungeko withdrawing Laudit Mavugo for Cedrick Urasenga, while Uganda introduced Milton Kalisa for Mucureezi Paul.
The Cranes started the restart how they dreamt it as Ibrahim made a swiveling 180 degrees turn to finish past keeper Jonathan Nahimana for 1-1.
Coach Basena made yet another substitution almost immediately, introducing Hood in the place of Nicholas Wadada as he sought the winner.
With 12 minutes left on the clock Juma struck again, this time from a well executed free kick from 20 yards that completely duped the goalkeeper.
Kalisa, substitute Allan Kateregga and Nelson Senkaatuka had their close range attempts aborted by a hard working Nahimana on goal, Basena’s men reducing the match one sided affair towards the stoppage.
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