The home side held onto their slim lead from the first half despite their opponents introducing dangerous players especially in the second half
Uganda failed to book an early African Cup of Nations slot after South Sudan condemned them to a 1-0 loss at Nyayo Stadium on Monday.
The win, courtesy of a goal scored by Gor Mahia’s new star Tito Okello, ensured the Bright Stars picked up a maiden group win while Uganda suffered an unlikely first loss in the qualifiers.
After the matchday four fixtures, Burkina Faso lead Group B with eight points, followed by Uganda on seven. Malawi are on four and South Sudan on three.
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As was the case in the reverse fixture, South Sudan looked comfortable in dealing with Uganda’s attacks that were spearheaded by Allan Okello, Fahad Bayo and Luwagga Kizito in the early moments of the game.
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The showdown did not witness any clear chances until in the 22nd minute when South Sudan’s Makueth Wol’s shot on target was stopped by Uganda’s captain Denis Onyango.
As the Bright Stars stood firm at the back and dealt with Uganda’s attackers with some ease, Farouk Miya attempted a long-range shot but it went off target in the 25th minute.
A well-drilled build-up saw Uganda disintegrate at the back and Tito Okello found himself through on goal but he was clumsily stopped by Khalid Aucho, who was the last man.
The referee awarded a penalty for the Bright Stars and the Gor Mahia striker successfully converted to give the hosts a 35th-minute lead.
As Aucho left the pitch, having been sent off for his offence, coach Johnathan McKinstry made a tactical change to deal with the effects of the red card. Michael Azira was brought on as William Kizito was consequently sacrificed.
The Bright Stars almost doubled their lead in the 57th minute through the former Vipers SC forward Okello. Ivan Wani set up a good cross for the goal scorer but his effort was blocked and resulted into a fruitless corner.
After being given a good pass by Allan Okello, Emmanuel Okwi thought he scored in the 58th minute but his goal was ruled out for offside and the decision led to some protest from the Ugandan side of the pitch and on the touchline.
The former Simba SC winger almost got a place on the scoresheet again but goalkeeper Majak Mawith did well to block him from giving Ugandan an equaliser in the 60th minute.
AFC Leopards’ Musa Saad was sent off in the 82nd minute for a dangerous tackle on Okwi who was posing a real threat to South Sudan since he came on.
As the teams played the last stage of the match with 10 men each, the Bright Stars got the last laugh especially after losing the last match with a 1-0 margin despite the good fight at the time.
McKinstry, as he had hinted since they recorded the win at St Mary’s Stadium on Thursday, effected six changes in his squad. Karim Watambala, Nicholas Wadada, Halid Lwaliwa, Disan Galiwango, Okello and Bayo all started for the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup champions.
South Sudan Starting XI: Majak Mawith, Peter Maker (C), Omot Sebit, Mutwakil Abdelkarim, Rahan Angier, Stephen Pawaar, Jackson Morgan, Munyumow Achol, Tito Okello, Chok Daniel, Makueth Wol.
Uganda Starting XI: Denis Onyango, Nicholas Wadada, Disan Galiwango, Halid Lwaliwa, Timothy Awany, Khalid Aucho, Karim Watambala, Faruku Miya, Allan Okello, Fahad Bayo, Luwagga Kizito.