Uganda on the brink of reaching knockout rounds, Zimbabwe face elimination

26 June 2019 - 21:09 By Marc Strydom In Cairo
Zimbabwe's captain and striker Knowledge Musona celebrates after Khama Billiat scored the equalising goal during the Afcon 1-1 draw against Uganda in Cairo on Wednesday June 26 2019.
Zimbabwe's captain and striker Knowledge Musona celebrates after Khama Billiat scored the equalising goal during the Afcon 1-1 draw against Uganda in Cairo on Wednesday June 26 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango's and Uganda have done enough to qualify for the knockout stage at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) for the first time since 1978 with Wednesday night's 1-1 Group A draw against Zimbabwe at the Cairo International Stadium.

With the four best third-placed finishers of six groups at Egypt 2019 reaching the last-16, four points does not make for an official qualification. But basically Uganda, who beat Democratic Republic of Congo in their first game and have four points, are through.

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The Cranes were led to their first Afcon finals in 38 years by Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic in 2017, where they finished last in their group.

That qualification, bizarrely, was their first since being losing finalists in the 1978 final to hosts Ghana.

Wednesday night's match that pitted the two star players, Kaizer Chiefs' playmaker Khama Biliat for Uganda and his ex-Sundowns teammate Onyango in Uganda goal, against each other.

The Southern African team, after conceding first to Emmanuel Okwi in the 12th minute, then controlled the game but could only provide Billiat's 41st-minute equaliser.

Uganda opened the scoring when winger Abdu Lumala advanced down the right and shot, the ball parried by Polokwane City goalkeeper George Chigova into the path of Okwi, who stroked in the rebound.

Zimbabwe were spurred into action, finding their stride to pry Uganda open.

Billiat broke down the left and fed Knowledge Musona, who blasted over.

Central midfielder Danny Phiri put a free header inches wide from a free-kick.

The Warriors equalised before the break with a classy goal.

Musona athletically chested for Ovidy Karuru down then left, whose low cross was slotted at the far post by Billiat.

Zimbabwe continued to dominate from the change rooms, Musona hitting the post soon after their return.

Billiat was free on the right, squared, and Musona's shot was parried by Onyango, still bounced towards the line, then was swept clear by the big Sundowns man.

Uganda worked their way back into the game. From a corner, centreback Ronald Mukibi was able to turn and shoot wide.

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