Level at goalless after a sloppy performance, Uganda were punished by Simon Msuva’s finish who converted from inside the area to stun Micho’s side and throw.
Uganda Cranes’ bid to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hit a significant bump in the road as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to rivals Tanzania on Friday.
Six month since the Cranes lost to the Taifa Stars in a friendly, the two East African rivals met in surroundings that could scarcely have been more different to September’s encounter.
Head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic had noted that the Cranes needed to kick start their qualifying campaign as they went in search of their first AFCON qualifying victory since defeating South Sudan in 2021.
Uganda were under par in the first half, failing to create chances, with Joseph Ochaya failing to capitalize on their best chance in the 30th minute.
The Cranes also had what could have been a genuine penalty appeal on a foul on Fahad Bayo waved off by the referee.
Tanzania meanwhile saw more of the meaningful possession, and nearly benefitted from a half chance in the 35th minute when goalkeeper Salim Jamal Magoola fluffed a free kick but was lucky to see the ball filter behind for a corner kick.
The sizeable crowd that made it to the stadium was in full voice as they tried to rally on their players as they returned from the break, but there were murmurs of discontent from then on.
Micho made three prompt changes bringing on Ismail Mugulusi, Steven Sserwadda and Richard Basangwa for Fahad Bayo, Farouk Miya and Siraje Ssentamu.
But Uganda did not react nor improve after the restart even with Micho in full voice on the touchline.
Sserwadda did not last in the game, going off with a injury less than eight minutes after coming on, with Allan Okello replacing him.
Tanzania had looked threatening on the break, Mbwana Samatta nearly benefited from a fast break, while Jamal was forced into a fine save to deny Saidi Khamis.
But he could do nothing to stop Msuva’s powerful finish inside the area as he snuck up ahead of Halid Lwaliwa to finish Dickson Job’s low corner.
A win would have resurrected Uganda’s bid to qualify for the AFCON after missing out on the 2019 edition, but defeat means they face an uphill task to secure qualification.
Uganda is bottom of Group F on only one point, while Tanzania now move second on four points. The two teams meat on Tuesday at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Tanzania.
How both teams lined up: