Debutants South Sudan register maiden victory, CAR out

South Sudan players join Paul Jawa in celebrating a historical goal | CAF Image

AFCON U20 Debutants South Sudan register maiden victory, CAR out

Brian Aheebwa 19:44 - 23.02.2023

South Sudan's Young Bright Stars secured their first-ever win at the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Central African Republic (CAR).

Paul Mara Jawa, the diminutive winger, was the hero of the match as he won and converted a penalty following a challenge by Fanuel Franck Koyakogue.

South Sudan started strongly at the Suez Canal Stadium in Ismailia, eager to make history after their previous defeat to Congo in Group B.

South Sudan dominated possession in the opening exchanges, and Mara scored his second goal of the tournament to give his team the lead.

However, the Central African Republic fought back and came close to equalizing through Ato-Zandanga's fierce shot, which forced a save from South Sudan goalkeeper Godwill Sabio Yogusuk.

CAR took control of the match with Ato-Zandanga leading the charge and forcing Yogusuk into another smart save midway through the first half. They also hit the post through Ato-Zandangset’s piece, which crashed against the woodwork.

South Sudan held onto their lead going into halftime, and the second half saw a more even match, with both teams pushing forward.

Mara continued to threaten on the left for South Sudan and found Abishai with a neat first-touch pass, but the striker was unable to convert his effort.

The CAR had their chances too, with Gbenou and Ato-Zandanga coming close, but they could not find the back of the net, with Simon Godwill proving to be a formidable obstacle in goal for South Sudan.

The Bright Stars held on to secure their historic win and boost their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

In the end, it was a well-deserved victory for South Sudan, who showed great resilience and determination throughout the match.

They are on three points and will face fellow CECAFA side Uganda in their final Group B game on Sunday.

It will be a repeat of the CECAFA final which Uganda won as both sides qualified for the AFCON and it is set to be a pulsating encounter.

Meanwhile, that is the end of the road for the Central African Republic (CAR) at this year's tournament.

Besides losing to South Sudan, they also lost 2-1 to Uganda on Monday and they will be playing for formality when they face Congo on Sunday.