Uganda hit Kenya for seven in first leg of World Cup qualifier

Uganda-Celebrate

Juliet Nalukenge and Sumaya Komuntale each grabbed a brace with a one a piece from Margaret Kunihira, Fauzia Najjemba and Shamira Nalugya as Uganda thrashed Kenya’s Emerging Starlets 7-2 in the first leg of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifier in Nairobi on Saturday.

Shaylene Opisa grabbed a second half brace for Kenya, but it was never enough to turnover the huge deficit as Kenya heads to the second leg with a mountain to climb.

“The girls played well under instructions and we used our chances. Though we scored seven goals we need to sharpen our strikers and also work on our endurance. The second half was not very good, and we need to have some better game plan for the second period,” Uganda head coach Khalifa Kiyingi said after the match.

His opposite number, Charles Okere was gracious in defeat and promised a better performance in the second leg.

“The Ugandan team is a bit more experienced than us and it was evident in how they played. Most of our players are school girls but we take the lessons. This is the same team we are building for the future and every result is a learning curve for us. We will work on our mistakes and try to be better in the second leg,” Okere said after the game.

The visitors were off to a flier and just two minutes into the game, they were leading when Nalukenge headed home from close range after rising to meet a Najjemba cross which the Kenyan keeper tried to pluck out but in vain.

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The Ugandans were pumped in confidence and double the tally when Kunihira ran into the box from the right and clipped the ball over keeper Ursula Nasimiyu under pressure from the defense.

After 21 minutes, Uganda were 3-0 up when Najjemba doubled the tally, slapping the ball into an empty net after keeper Nasimiyu spilled a cross from the right from Kunihira.

Five minutes later, it was 4-0 when Nalukenge was fouled inside the area, with Nalugya taking the penalty duties and making no mistake from 12 yards out.

The diminutive Ugandan forward was troubling the Kenyan backline all afternoon and she completed her brace minutes later before Komuntale made it 6-0 for the visitors at the break with a well curled freekick.

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The home side however came off the breather with more determination and grabbed one back through Opisa. The lanky striker finished off inside the box after a good team move from the Kenyans on the left with Joy Oriyo delivering the decisive cross.

Opisa and Oriyo were to combine once again as Kenya scored their second, the pint-sized midfielder doing all the dirty work in the middle of the pack to lay off for Opisa to strike a long range belter.

But the Kenyans’ minute hopes of a memorable comeback couldn’t come to fruition and instead it was the Ugandans who would get on the scoresheet, Komuntale scoring her second of the day after pouncing on to a loose ball inside the box.

The return leg will be played in Kampala on October 8 with the winner set to face either Mozambique or South Africa.