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CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup

Cecafa Challenge Cup: Uganda victorious over Burundi in opener

10:50 AM EST 12/7/19
Vipers Sports Club striker Fahad Bayo.
The Cranes claimed a slim win against the Swallows as the first group matches for the tournament kicked off in Kampala

Uganda defeated Burundi 2-1 in their Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup opener at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo to top Group A.

Bright Anukani broke the deadlock before Fahad Bayo added the second goal for the Cranes. A second-half penalty for Burundi which was converted by Cedric Rurasenga was not enough to help the Swallows avoid an opening loss.

Uganda opened the score in the 10th-minute when Anukani managed to beat Burundi's goalkeeper Fabien Mutombo after the hosts' consistent attacks from the first whistle.

Bayo doubled the lead in the 21st minute to enable the Cranes to go into the half-time break with a healthy lead in a packed stadium.

Rurasenga halved the deficit for the Swallows three minutes after the hour mark as they grew in confidence and started attacking the record Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup winners on their own turf.

A late resurgence from Burundi did not prevent Uganda from getting all three points to go top of Group A as the 40th edition of the regional tournament got underway on Saturday.

In the other match involving Somalia and Djibouti, the tie ended in a goalless draw at the same venue.

Djibouti's best chance came in the first half when Ahmed Youssouf hit the post twice while the Ocean Stars only real chance came in the 77th minute when substitute Hassan Abdin Gesey attempted a long-range shot, but the quick reaction from Djibouti's goalkeeper Innocent Mbonihaukoye kept the score goalless.

Djibouti head coach Julie Mette explained why it is important for his players to engage in the annual regional competition.

“We are happy to be in this tournament because it will give us more exposure ahead of the group stage of the 2021 Fifa World Cup qualifiers,” Mette told reporters after the match.

Bashir Hayford, Somalia's coach, revealed his satisfaction with the point earned from the opening tie.

“We are happy to start with a draw since most of my players are based out of Somalia and only trained together for a few days,” Hayford said.