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Bayo goal seals scrappy Uganda WCQ victory over East African rivals Rwanda to boost Cranes back into Group E contention

The trend of low scoring games continued in Group E of FIFA World Cup qualifying on Thursday, but Uganda finally got their first goal of the campaign in an important 1-0 road victory over Rwanda in Kigali. FC Ashdod forward Fahad Bayo finished off a goal mouth scramble at the end of the first half to move the Cranes up to five points and into contention for the top spot in the group while boosting the hopes of Ugandan fans moving forward. Rwanda remain in last place on one point heading into the return match in Kampala on Sunday.

With only one goal scored between the two teams having played two games each, it always looked like only one goal would be needed to make the difference and the finishing throughout Thursday’s match showed why goals have come at a premium. Scuffed shot attempts and services in the final third that lacked finalizing touches were the story between the two teams. The hosts had the better of the match with forwards Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere missing opportunities before thirty minutes were up.

Therefore, it came as a shock when Uganda found the opening goal from seemingly out of nowhere in the 41st minute. A free kick from the left wing was sent into the box by Isaac Muleme and the ball was flicked through to the far side, where Byaruhanga Bobose fired a deflected effort that was saved onto the post by Rwanda keeper Emery Mvuyekure. The ball bounced off the woodwork and temptingly along the goal line before Bayo crashed in and applied the finishing touch into the empty net to give the Cranes a shock lead.

The disgusted look from Rwanda manager Vincent Mashami following the goal said it all with the tactician knowing it was going to be a struggle to switch on the attack. Following halftime the trend of poor finishing continued with both teams having cringe inducing moments of futility in the penalty area. A low cross for Uganda in the 52nd minute found a wide open Stephen Mukwala but the URA SC player whiffed on his effort from eight yards out with the goal begging. Eight minutes later it was Rwanda’s turn as Tuyisenge scuffed a shot harmlessly wide from a cross.

Uganda did well to hold out and killed the match off with efficiency as Rwanda’s attack continued to be quite tame in a second half that did not feature many opportunities for either side. Highlights are in the button link below as the Cranes hope to use the momentum gained to go on and make it six points from their two matchups against Amavubi.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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