CECAFA champions Uganda Cranes twice let go of the lead to pick a point from their opening Group D African Nations Championships (CHAN) clash after playing to a 2 – 2 draw with Mali at the Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu on Tuesday night.
Most of the Cranes squad was made of players who featured for the team in the CECAFA Senior Challenge towards the end of 2015 in Ethiopia and it was starts from the CECAFA tournament – Farouk Miya and Erisa Ssekisambu who got the goals for the Ugandans.
Mali’s goals came courtesy of Sekou Keita and Hamidou Sinayoko’s goals and Uganda had a bad ending to the game, losing Miya and goalkeeper Ismael Wetanga to injury.
Uganda took the lead on the 12th minute with Ssekisambu brushing home Miya’s free kick floated in from the left.
Mali got the equalizer in the 23rd minute as Cranes were guilty of ball watching. Sekou Koita wriggled inside the box after picking up a loose ball at the edge of the area and shot low and hard into Isma Watenga’s bottom left.
Uganda retook the lead on the 40th minute through a contested penalty as Ssekisambu was seemingly brought down. Miya stepped up to take the spot kick and did it well before limping off a few minutes later.
Mali got the leveler in the 59th minute through Hamidou Sinayoko who tapped in from a yard out. Substitute Mamadou Coulibaly who had come on for Abdoulaye Diarra broke into the box from the right, cut in a cross with Bernard Muwanga’s attempt to chest it away falling on Sinayoko.
After the first day of matches in the group, Zambia is top with three points from a 1 – 0 win over Zimbabwe earlier on.