Uganda Cranes lost to Algeria 2-0 in their first Group F game of the 2023 AFCON Qualifiers.
It was a night to forget for the Cranes players who were made to chase shadows at the July 5 1962 stadium.
Goals from Aissa Mandi and Youcef Belaili handed the Desert Foxes a deserved lead in a game they could have won by a better margin.
A decent scoreline and loss for any sane Ugandan.
And Cranes will feel they still have a chance to return to AFCON having lost to a far better and hungry side that just missed out on a place in the World Cup.
Here is how the Uganda Cranes players rated:
He made a couple of decent saves and did not really stand a chance with any of Algeria’s two goals. He had earlier denied Goal-scorers Belaili and Mandi in the first half. (7)
A surprise starter. Perhaps you can blame Micho who threw him in the deep ahead of Enock Walusimbi or Isaac Muleme. He was turned in and out by Rachio Ghezzal on every occasion and could have done better on the second goal. (3)
Will be faulted for allowing many crosses to rain from his side. His solidity was barely seen on the night he was beaten too easily at times. (3.5)
Just like the fullbacks, Lwaliwa had a rough night as well against a well oiled Algerian side. Was shaky throughout and could have been there when Mandi opened the scores. Stood firm at times, but on rare occassions. 3.5
Put in a committed shift for his side, tried to remain composed and was the reason Slimani was not on scoresheet. When he had to get involved, he did so with strength. But he was in the mix for both goals conceded. (4)
Khalid Aucho – Industrious as usual. Contributed the first goal Uganda conceded when he made that reckless foul for a freekick. But improved from thereafter and made some interventions to prevent Algeria from putting the game beyond doubt. (4.5)
Chased shadows from the word go. He struggled to deal with the game’s tempo, not kind of way he would have fancied his debut to be like. He never really got anything going after that unenviable task in a midfield of classy players like Bennacer and Ramzi Zerrouki. (3.5)
Looked lively and made a number of dangerous forward runs. Tried to spare time to track back and defend. Battled really hard despite his small frame. (6)
A mixed bag of performance. Looked like Cranes best chance to get on scoresheet, but his attempts sailed harmlessly wide of goal. Notably, he squandered Uganda’s golden chance to level with a fluffed penalty. (3.5)
Trusted to start and was tipped to shine given he plays his club football in Algeria. But it only stopped from that. A couple of misplaced passes ruined his night. Struggled to effectively link up and failed to create opportunities with Okwi. (3.4)
Less to write about the captain after he proved to be a ghost especially in the first half when he barely saw the ball. Was a pedestrian and anonymous going forward. (3.2)
Substitutes – Steven Sserwadda (for Okello), Bobosi Byaruhanga (for Karisa), Derrick Kakooza (for Youngman), Hakim Kiwanuka (for Okwi), Martin Kizza (for Miya)
Coach Micho – Starting an inexperienced Gavin Kizito was a bad decision, Youngman’s gamble never paid off and the substitutions never made an impact. Hakim Kiwanuka who? (2.5)