Cranes pip Stars to retain crown
Defending champions Uganda Cranes retained the Cecafa Tusker Cup for the third year running after edging out archrivals Kenya 2-1 in this year’s final played at Namboole Stadium on Saturday.
Two own goals by Anthony Kimani and Joackins Atudo gave Cranes the title in a closely fought encounter played out infront of 35,000 passionate fans. Edwin Lavatsa had levelled the scores four minutes from time.
It was Uganda’s 13th Cecafa title and a fourth crown under Bobby Williamson’s stewardship as the Cranes underlined their dominance in the region. They went through this year’s tourney without losing a match and conceding only once.
For Stars, it was a cruel end to their fairytale run as the makeshift Kenyan side defied the odds winning four matches to get to the final but they fell just short at the last hurdle.
The hosts started brightly with Emmanuel Okwi going close two efforts early on. Kenya suffered a setback on 17 minutes when David Owino was stretchered off with Kevin Omondi coming on in his place.
The injury affected Stars as David Ochieng had to drop to central defence and they spent the rest of the half trying to re-organise their midfield.
Uganda went ahead on 28 minutes when Moses Oloya put Robert Ssentongo through down the right and his cross-shot was deflected by Kimani past goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng.
Kenya thought they had equalised on 44 minutes when a Humphrey Mieno pass put Lavatsa through on goal but his left footed shot bounced back off the upright.
Coach James Nandwa threw on Rama Salim after the break and he rejuvenated Kenya’s midfield driving them forward with purpose against a tiring Ugandan side.
Mieno tested Muwonge with a35 yard shot on 53 minutes but Hamza Muwonge was behind it all the way.
Stars were dominating possession and their efforts paid off four minutes from time when Mike Barasa put substitute Paul Were through on the left and his cutback was drilled home by Lavatsa from 12 yards to make it 1-1.
But with extra time looming, Stars conceded a freekick after Anthony Kimani’s deliberate handball. Godfrey Walusimbi put in a vicious ball that was turned into his own net by Atudo under pressure from Geoffrey Kizito.