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Tito Okello returns to haunt Uganda

Tuesday November 17 2020
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South Sudan's Tito Okello (second right) celebrates his goal during their 2021 Afcon qualifier against Uganda Cranes at Nyayo National stadium on November 16, 2020. Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

By Nation. Africa

Nairobi. South Sudan registered their first win in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2021 qualifiers after edging Uganda Cranes 1-0 in an entertaining match at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi Monday.

South Sudan got the winning goal in the first half after Cranes forward after Allan Okello hacked Manyumow Achol in the box. Gor Mahia striker Tito Okello, originally from Uganda, calmly slotted in the penalty for the all-important goal.

Uganda Cranes desperately needed a win that would have assured them qualification to their third consecutive Afcon finals. Both sides ended the game with 10 men.

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South Sudan remains at the bottom of Group B with three points from four games, while Uganda is second with seven points having played the same number of matches.

A visibly angry Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan McKinstry declined efforts to interview him after the match and walked away to the dressing room despite attempts by the battery of journalists who were covering the match

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.South Sudan coach Ashu Cyprian lauded his charges saying they deserved to win.

"I am very proud of the boys. We were a bit unlucky in the first leg match but if you look at both matches we were clearly the better side. My players fought really hard and never complained even when I pushed them to do extra work. This victory belongs to them and I am extremely proud of them," he said after the match.

Cranes started strongly and could have taken the lead on five minutes, but Farouk Miya's low shot from the edge of the box was easily picked by South Sudan goalkeeper Majak Maling. South Sudan grew into the game and Makueth Wol came close on 10 minutes, forcing Cranes goalkeeper Denis Onyango into a fine save.

Cranes midfielder Khalid Aucho was sent off on 31 minutes after he fouled Tito Okello, who had intercepted a Timothy Awany pass just outside the box. Omot Sebit blasted the resultant free-kick wide.

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Uganda Cranes keeper Dennis Onyango concedes a goal during their 2021 Afcon qualifier against South Sudan at Nyayo National stadium on November 16, 2020. Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Uganda Cranes midfielder Khalid Aucho receives his marching orders during their 2021Afcon qualifier against South Sudan at Nyayo National stadium on November 16, 2020.

Minutes later, Allan Okello hacked Manyumow Achol in the box and Tito sent Cranes keeper Denis Onyango the wrong way from the resultant penalty.

Cranes brought in Emmanuel Okwi for Abdu Karim Watambala after the breather and the forward came close at the hours mark, South Sudan keeper Majak Maling denying him from close range. Their best chance of the game came on 73 minutes with Faruk Miya's volley from the edge of the box hitting the bar.

AFC Leopards midfielder Asad Musa, who had come in for South Sudan on 63 minutes, was sent off 10 minutes from stoppage time for a second bookable offence. Tito Okello missed a glorious opportunity to double the lead with two minutes left to the final whistle.

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