Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said that the red card to Murushid Juuko unsettled his team in the goalless draw against Mali in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on Monday in Kampala.
Sredojevic said that they were planning to make two substitutions before Juuko was given marching orders after 66 minutes. “This red card unsettled us and our approach changed completely because we were playing against strong and experienced players,” added the coach.
Juuko was cautioned early in the first half, but was sent early to the dressing room after elbowing Ibrahima Kone. Sredojevic said that Juuko’s challenge was totally unnecessary and this caused problems for the Uganda Cranes to play with a man less against a strong team like Mali.
“We have managed to get two points from two games and now we should start planning for the next games in October. This is a process and the team is in transition with some new young players into the team,” added Sredojevic.
The visitors Mali dominated most of the match played at the St. Marys Stadium, Kitende.
Uganda Cranes started well with defender Isaac Muleme’s free-kick after 9 minutes that the Mali’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro tipped the ball over the goal. Mounkoro again punched Joseph Ochaya’s shot a few minutes later.
After 28 minutes Mali’s Adama Traore missed the target from a free kick before Uganda’s Juuko was cautioned for a foul outside the box.
The Eagles of Mali pushed forward in the second half before Juuko was sent-off.
Sredojevic later made some changes bringing on Innocent Wafula for Emmanuel Okwi, and Mustafa Kizza Ochaya. Mali continued to attack, but failed to find the goals.
Mali lead Group E with 4 points, while Kenya’s Harambee Stars who drew 1-1 with Rwanda on Sunday are second with 2 points, but ahead of Uganda who have the same number of points because they have scored. Rwanda are bottom of the log with 1 point.
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