Uganda and Zimbabwe played to a 0-0 draw in their 2014 African Nations Championship Group B clash at the Athlone Stadium on Thursday.
Two-goal hero against Burkina Faso, Junior Yunus Sentamu, looked goal shy and had little impact in the match alongside fellow teenager Francis Olaki who had started ahead of experienced Vicent Kayizzi.
The first half revolved around both sides having lacked creativity and killer indicts in the final third of the field.
An early corner kick for Uganda in the second minute was a poor one as it hit the side netting before Zimbabwean midfielder Phiri emerged with a poor long range effort but it was nothing the Ugandan keeper couldn’t easily deal with with.
Under lots of pressure by the Zimbabwe team that dominated the match for long spells, the Cranes managed to defend in numbers to secure a point. The draw takes them to four points from two games played after their 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in the first game.
Kudakwashe Mahachi together with Donald Ngoma were a constant threat for the Cranes backline, but poor finishing and good goalkeeping by the Ugandan goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan denied them chance to find the back of the net.
Zimbabwe who drew 0-0 with Morocco in the first game on January 12th looked a more hungry side as they passed the ball all over the pitch and run like it was a Cup final as their fans chanting from the start of the whistle.
Uganda later had some lovely touches but they fail to penetrate the Zimbabwean defence and the second half got underway and Uganda coach Micho Sredjevic made his first substitution of the match withdrawing an ineffective Brian Majwega for Joseph Mpande but saw far fewer scoring opportunities, though the Zimbabweans took full advantage of their best chance.
It was one of the few opportunities Mali created against an otherwise disciplined and alert Bafana defence, who will be rueing the way they went to sleep at a crucial point in the match.
Richard Kasagga and Julius Ntambi were cautioned for Uganda.
Uganda’s State Minister for Sports, Charles Bakkabulindi who watched the game said it was a tough encounter, but the Cranes stood firm. “They were under a lot of pressure from the good Zimbabwe team, but they defended well,” said Bakkabulindi.
The Zimbabweans will certainly be unhappy with this point after dominating their second match in succession but with no maximum points gained whilst the Cranes will be satisfied with a draw after a win in their opening match of the tournament.