A five-star performance from Uganda was enough to record a 5-1 win over South Sudan in their First Round first leg clash on Saturday in Kampala.
Goals from Mustafa Kizza, Stephen Mukwala, Sadam Masereka, Hamisi Tibita and Allan Okello gave the Hippos a first leg cushioning ahead of the reverse in a fortnight in Juba.
The homers started on high and Mukwala and Julius Poloto squandered early chances which could have seen them up by the tenth minute.
The breakthrough came on 25 minutes when Kizza slotted home from the spot after Mukwala was fouled by his marker in the vital area.
The South Sudanese responded in style and leveled five minutes later after Uganda defender Musitafa Mujuzi inadvertently connected a Ramadan Ding free-kick into his own net.
In the second half, the Hippos were on pressure to deliver as the South Sudan backline remained resolute. The turning point was on 65 minutes when Mukwala restored the homers lead.
The goal brought back the confidence of the Hippos who threaded quick inter passes as the visitors were left chasing their shadows.
Substitute Masereka scored the third for Uganda on 69 minutes and Tibita took the game beyond the South Sudanese with the fourth on 87 minutes.
Youngster Okello put the icing on the cake with the fifth a minute from time to complete the routing.
"We had a fair game. The boys lost concentration in the second half. I'm disappointed with the result; we did not plan for this. We have the return leg in two weeks and we shall see how we can come back in the game," said South Sudan coach Ait Abdelmalek.
"We had a better game because we have had this team play together especially during the COSAFA U-20 last year in Zambia which helped to shape the boys for the qualifiers. Now, we have the skeleton and we can play. It's not yet over, we shall play our game in South Sudan," Uganda coach Matia Lule noted.
Saturday, 31 March 2018
Mauritania 2-0 Morocco
Algeria 3-1 Tunisia
Uganda 5-1 South Sudan
Tanzania 0-0 DR Congo
Seychelles 0-0 Mozambique
Malawi 0-0 Swaziland
Botswana 0-0 Namibia
Sunday, 1 April 2018
Gabon vs Togo
Kenya vs Rwanda
Ethiopia vs Burundi
Guinea Bissau vs Sierra Leone
*Liberia vs Benin
*Liberia withdrew, Benin qualified to second round