Uganda made a brilliant start to their expedition at the 2023 TotalEnergies U20 Africa Cup of Nations, winning the opening Group game against Central African Republic on Monday.
In the game played at Suez Canal Authority Stadium, the Hippos were dominant right from the onset, taking charge of every aspect and winning 2-1.
Captain Isma Mugulusi and John Paul Dembe scored a goal each for Uganda while Boris Gbenou got the consolation for Central African Republic.
Central African Republic barely troubled Uganda and their resilience in the first half was broken when the Hippos hit the second gear in the second half.
Titus Ssematimba, Ivan Irinimababazi and Travis Mutyaba all came close in the opening minutes but didn’t put the chances to good use.
A minute upon return from recess, Apollo Kakogwe thought he had fired Uganda into the lead but his overhead kick effort was ruled out for offside.
The deadlock was broken a minute later with Isma Mugulusi scoring from close range.
Ssematimba’s headed effort met Mugulusi just around the goal line and his flicked effort found the back of the net.
The captain nearly doubled the lead two minutes later with a well-curled effort outside the area but only went just wide.
Ssematimba saw his ferocious effort in the 69th minute ricochet off the post.
It was John Paul Dembe who doubled Uganda’s advantage in the 74th minute with some effort when he beat off a defender before curling into the top left corner.
Coach Jackson Mayanja made changes bringing on John Paul Kakande and Umar Lutalo for Mutyaba and Rogers Mugisha, respectively.
Emmanuel Mukisa also came on for goal scorer Dembe in the 87th minute.
Central African Republic pulled one back deep in stoppage through Gbenou but it was not enough to salvage them at least a point.
Uganda will return to action on Thursday against Congo Brazzaville.
Uganda’s starting XI
Abdu Magada (GK), Haruna Lukwago, Ibrahim Juma, Rogers Torach, Apollo Kakogwe, Ivan Irinimbabazi, Rogers Mugisha, Isma Mugulusi (C), John Paul Dembe, Travis Mutyaba, Titus Ssematimba.
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