East and Central African Neighbors Uganda and DR Congo staged a barren show in their opening group B fixture of the 2022 African Nations championship, CHAN this Saturday, January 14 at the 19 May, 1956 Stadium in Annaba.
The game of few chances could have gone either way if the strikers were a little more prolific. However, both sides backed home a point from the goalless little entertaining show.
The opening exchanges of was dominated by the more mobile Uganda Cranes side led by captain Karisa Milton. The first chances of the game fell to Uganda side dressed in whites. The string three successive corners for the Congolese were defended well enough to keep the scores goalless.
The pace of the game slowed in the next ten minutes. However, the next chance fell to DR Congo forward Adam Bossu Nzali from a set piece from just outside the box. His well-taken dead ball was saved by Nafian Legason on goal for the Cranes.
19 minutes into the contest Milton Karisa found the back of DR Congo net. Unfortunately, a quick goal check via the VAR team signaled there was a foul in the build up.
Ugandans had their hearts in their mouth in the 27th minute when captain Karisa Milton crashed to the floor while holding his groin. A similar sight in the last tournament meant the end of the player’s participation, this time around he was able to dust himself and continue.
There was a faint penalty call from the Red Devils of DRC after Miche Mika went down theatrically. Referee Patrick Milazar from Mauritius Island was quick to wave play on.
Uganda pressed almost immediately and won a set piece just around the box. Yet again, they were denied the opener as Moses Waisa put the ball over the barrier but directly on the woodwork.
DRC won their second corner of the game five minutes before the break but made nothing of it. The two times champions pushed to draw first blood from two corner situation in the last five minutes in the first half and failed, thus leaving the game level at the break.
Both sides were unchanged on resumption for the second segment, though they played with more purpose to get the first goal.
Uganda spent the first five minutes after the break in the Congolese half. Strange enough and against the run of play Congo won a corner from which they came closer and missed again.
Uganda’s keeper Nafian was called to action for the first time in the 52nd minutes as he denied Adam Nzali who shot from inside the box.
Uganda’s coach Micho made double substitutions a minutes later bringing on Ibrahim Orit and Titus Ssematimba to strengthen their offensive qualities, while hoping to score.
A fine cross into the right of the goal protected by Legason was met by halftime substitute Jean Marc Mundele who had come on in a fourth CHAN competition. The Vita forward’s close range effort went wide.
DR Congo players had a penalty shout in the 72nd minute, but the referee waved play on again even without the use of the VAR.
At the other end, Uganda hit the woodwork through a fine effort from Gift Fred who had been troubling DR Congo all evening.
16-year-old teenage sensation Nelson Senkakuta came for his debut in the last minute of regulation time, replacing Frank Ssebufu while captain Karisa Milton was also replaced by Travis Mutyaba.
The officiating team added four minutes of injury time, but there was no goal for the loud expectant close to 10000 fans at the 1956 Stadium in Annaba.
Match Highlights :
📹 Match Highlights: 🇨🇩 0-0 🇺🇬
— CAF (@CAF_Online) January 14, 2023
At the blast of the final whistle, it was goalless between the two neighbours whose cautious approach all evening reflected in the final score.
At the post match conference coach Milutin Sredojević said DR Congo whose midfielder Jonathan Kapela was voted man of the match should be happier with a point.
The Congolese coach on his part expressed his discontent with the performance and results, but said his side was learning on the job and will be improved next time out against Cote D’Ivoire who lost 0-1 to Senegal in the other group B fixture.