Derrick Nsibambi’s 86th minute equalizer saved the blushes for Cecafa champions Uganda Cranes as they forced a draw against Ethiopia in a thrilling Group B clash at the Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega yesterday.
The result meant that Cranes who were playing with nine men, qualified for the competition’s semi-finals and will be waiting to know their opponents in the last four today.
Ethiopia who have been fans favourite in Kakamega are now out of the competition having just managed three points from their group matches, leaving Burundi who plays South Sudan today with a better chance of going top of the group if they win as it will take them to seven points.
Uganda’s Isaac Muleme and Timothy Awany got matching orders from Kenyan referee Peter Waweru in the 80th and 91st minutes respectively but that did not dump the spirits of the champions.
Waaliya Antelopes of Ethiopia started the match at a blistering pace and rattled the woodwork just four minutes into the match with a well curled free kick taken by the captain Bune Abebaw Butako.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 22nd minute after Abdela Abubuker Sani pounced on Tilahun Abel Yalew’s rebounded shot to tap in the ball in the net.
The early pressure sent panic to Crane’s technical team forcing head coach Moses Basena make an early substitution by bringing in Milton Kaliisa for Sadam Juma as early as 26th minute. Both teams made several raids seeking for goals but remained wasteful forcing the first half end with Ethiopia leading.