Two-time TotalEnergies CHAN winners DRCongo were held to a goalless draw by neighbours Uganda in a highly contested match at the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba on Saturday in front of thousands of Algerian fans that came out to watch the action.
The result was a true reflection of the two sides who had a couple of chances in front of goal but were wasteful on several occasions and unlucky on others.
Adam Bossu Nzali had the game’s first real chance at goal with a well-taken freekick on target, but it went straight into Ugandan goalkeeper Nafian Alionzi’s hands in the 10th minute.
On the other end of the pitch, Cranes playmaker Moses Waiswa had the same opportunity to give Uganda the lead but he sent his attempt into the stands much to the frustration of his colleagues on the bench.
Nzali, who was red-hot with attacking zeal down the left side, made a fast-paced run into the box but sent his shot into the side of the net as the Ugandans hi-fived each other for avoiding the goal that could have given the Congolese the lead.
The midfield had a busy outing on the night with both sets of players trying to control the tempo of the game which also turned out to be physical but it was the Congolese who had the most ball possession – 53%.
In the second half, Uganda came close to finding the back of the net but Gift Fred’s header hit the post and was cleared by the Congolese defence.
Congolese substitute Jean-Marc Makusu almost scored within five minutes of coming on but his attempt went into the side of the net and minutes later forced Alionzi to pick up the ball from his powerful shot.
Both coaches Otis Ngoma and Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic made necessary changes but their efforts did not alter the result of the game.
DR Congo and Uganda sit joint top of Group B ahead of the Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal fixture at the same venue.