Fauzia Najjemba's goal was not enough as Uganda Crested Cranes lost 2-1 to Algeria in the 2023 Africa Women's Cup of Nations first round qualifier.
Algeria pulled an early second-half assault to bag two quickfire goals as they beat Uganda Crested Cranes 2-1 to take an early advantage in their 2023 Africa Women's Cup of Nations first-round qualifier.
Uganda started the game well with pace through the wings but that never gained anything as the visitors grew into the game.
The first half remained a balanced contest with nothing to write about at both ends of the pitch settling for a goalless draw into halftime.
Frenchman Farid Benstiti showed his tactical nous into the second half as the Algerians made light work of Uganda by scoring two goals inside the opening three minutes.
The Algerians kept pushing immediately after the restart, forcing Uganda into a corner. Morgan Belkhiter curled it in for Imane Chebel to head in for the second goal.
Then, Inter Milan striker Habiba Gouthia got at the end of a beautiful team move, controlled a pass, turned and stunned Vanessa Karungi in Uganda’s goal with a ferocious shot from outside the box to double the lead.
The visitors almost stretched the contest beyond Uganda’s reach six minutes later. Ines Boutaleb found space down the right lane before swinging in a cross which took a swerve towards goal, Karungi fumbled with, fell on Bouhani Naima who buried it in but was ruled off.
Coach Ayub Khalifa was forced to make some adjustments bringing in Viola Nambi and Aisha Nakibuuka for Fazila Ikwaput and Hassifa Nassuna at the hour-mark.
Uganda almost got one back through Sandra Nabweeteme who calmly controlled Phiona Nabbumba before powering a shot but could only rattle the crossbar.
Fauzia Najjemba’s header from the rebound was too feeble to cause an impact. The hosts were forced to make another change after Aisha Nantongo due to an injury for Margaret Kunihira.
Kunihira almost made her inclusion count with her first touch as she dribbled her way before firing in from long range but her effort rose above the target with the keeper caught off-guard
Uganda’s chance finally arrived with three minutes remaining on the clock.
Aminah Nababi and Nabweteeme combined for a one-two, the former dribbling Emma Sabrina who eventually pulled her back with the Tanzanian referee Tatu Nuru pointing to the spot.
The Algerians protested the decision claiming that the foul happened outside the box but the referee, instead dished cautions to Sabrina and the goalkeeper.
Najjemba fired the kick in to give Uganda some hope ahead of the return leg next week on Tuesday in Algiers.
Vanessa Karungi (G), Sumaya Komuntale, Aisha Nantongo (72’ Margaret Kunihira), Sandra Nabweeteme, Fazila Ikwaput (60’ Viola Nambi), Hassifa Nassuna (60’ Aisha Nakibuuka), Joan Nabirye, Fauzia Najjemba, Shadia Nankya, Riticia Nabbosa, Phiona Nabbumba.