“Like any other away game we had it tough at the beginning because the home side wanted the win more than us."
2018 CHAN QUALIFICATION
Saturday's final round return-leg result:
Rwanda 2 Uganda 0
First leg: Uganda 3 Rwanda 0
(Uganda advance 3-2 on aggregate)
KIGALI - Rwanda national football team coach Antoine Hey lived up to his promise to avenge their third round first leg defeat in Kampala by guiding his Amavubi side to a 2-0 win over Cranes in Kigali Saturday.
But the spirited performance by the Rwandan side was a little too late as Uganda held on to advance to their fourth consecutive CHAN finals 3-2 on aggregate.
Rwanda silenced the boisterous visitors at Kigali Regional Stadium, Nyamirambo with two first half goals but Amavubi Stars collapsed in the second half when they couldn’t find any ideas to threaten the Cranes rearguard who appeared to have taken in coach Moses Basena’s recess grilling to heart.
Of the many headaches for Basena in the abysmal first half showing by the Cranes was the midfielders dropping balls unnecessarily as they appeared to struggle on the artificial turf.
Uganda started on very shaky grounds with midfielders Paul Musamali and Moses Wasswa looking unsettled and so dropping possessions one too many a time.
Rwandans secured two goals in quick succession. Yannick Mukunzi tapped home in the eighth minute before Thierry Manzi's header seven minutes later.
“Like any other away game we had it tough at the beginning because the home side wanted the win more than us. But when we settled in the second half we got what we wanted – to qualify for the finals. We have to go back the drawing board and improve before we go for the finals in Kenya,” Basena told a post-match press conference.
His team captain Bernard Muwanga confessed his team was not in its best form and so quickly succumbed to the hosts' pressure but he maintained that Uganda, who have been at the competition four times now, should be looking at reaching the quarterfinals.
“We may have made mistakes, that is why the result (2-0 loss) has come but our target is now to ensure Uganda goes beyond the group. It doesn’t matter how we have got there,” said the skipper.
Cranes have never gone beyond the group stages of the CHAN finals.
In their first match against hosts Kenya, first-choice goalkeeper Ismael Watenga will sit out because he got a second yellow card for time wasting on Saturday.
The Rwandans were no doubt hungrier.
In the 78th minute, a sluggish Milton Kariisa failed to convert a clear chance on the edge of the box and instead allowed the central defender to take away the ball.
Uganda dropped unnecessary goals in the midfield manned by hitherto Paul Musamali, and Moses Waiswa looked clueless as they dropped unnecessarily, giving the fast opponents advantage to pressurize the defense.
Muzamiru Mutyaba, Muwanga, Kariisa and Paul Mucureezi got scoring chances but all failed to convert.
The closest Mucureezi came to score is when he emanated central defender Abeddy Biramahire before Soter Kayumba brought him down while in clear shooting position in the box.
Not even coach Basena’s decision to substitute Mutyaba for Mucureezi could yield fruit.
The team also looked increasingly frustrated with Sudanese centre referee Hafiz Alamin's decisions especially when he ignored an aerial challenge on Timothy Awany.
Hey congratulated the Cranes for advancing for the CHAN finals, saying he was satisfied with the result in Kigali.
“I wish Uganda well. Today’s match was good and won fairly unlike the first leg in Kampala. It was their chance to go for the finals."
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