The national team the Uganda Cranes was eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations at the round of 16 after a 1-0 defeat by Senegal on Friday.
Sadio Mane’s first-half goal was enough to hand Senegal a place in the quarter-finals where they will face fellow West African rivals Benin.
The Liverpool striker was played through by Mbaye Niang who had pounced on a loose ball from Uganda defender Godfrey Walusimbi before beating goalkeeper Denis Onyango with a left-footed low shot.
Mane missed a chance to score the second for Senegal when he saw his penalty saved by Onyango in the second half though his single goal was enough to make him the tournament leading scorer with three goals.
The match started in high spirit with both sides trying to attack for the opener and it was Senegal to break the deadlock in the 15th minute through Mane.
Uganda tried to respond and look for an equalizer but the Senegal defense and goalkeeper Gomis made an impressive save to deny Uganda’s striker Emmanuel Okwi who saw his shot pushed away by the goalkeeper for a corner.
Senegal continued to put up a relentless performance that did not allow Uganda to cause much threat but rather forced them into committing several mistakes including fouls that saw three Uganda Cranes booked before half time.
Uganda Cranes second-half substitute Allan Kateregga forced another fine save from the Senegalese goalkeeper from a well taken free kick.
In the end, Mane’s goal proved to be the decider as Senegal progressed to the quarter-final and Uganda was sent packing joining the other three East African nations of Burundi, Kenya, and Tanzania that were eliminated at group stages.
Uganda’s build-up to the Senegal tie was dominated by disputes between the players and their football federation concerning their payments that the federation had not made which forced them to boycott training on Tuesday.
However, for Uganda Cranes, this tournament has been an upgrade from the previous one in 2017 where they exited at the group stage with a single point. This has been the first time Uganda has reached the knock out stage in this competition since 1978 where they finished runners up after losing the final to Ghana.
Although they are out of the tournament, The Cranes have made Uganda proud after producing some impressive performances and revealing some new faces of talented players who caught the attention of many at the tournament.
Benin shocks Morocco
The first match of the round of 16 saw underdogs Benin shock Morocco with a 4-1 defeat on penalties despite the North African giants being one of the favorites to win the tournament.
The 90 minutes of the match ended with both teams square at 1-1 and the added extra 30 minutes did not produce further goals.
Benin endured a difficult game that saw them survive a penalty that was missed by Morocco’s attacker Hakim Ziyech before they were reduced to 10 men after Khaled Adenon was sent off with one of the oddest red cards.
The Squirrels are now in the last eight despite not having won any match in regular time in this tournament. They will face fellow West African rivals Senegal on Wednesday, July 10 to fight for a place in the semifinals.
Other fixtures of the round of 16 continue today with Nigeria taking on defending champions Cameroon before hosts Egypt face South Africa in the second game of the day.
Tomorrow surprise package Madagascar will take on DR Congo in the first game and later Algeria will play Guinea.
The final set of the round of 16 will be played on Monday with Mali taking on 2015 champions Ivory Coast in the first match before the last fixture of the round will see Ghana playing 2004 champions Tunisia.