Two penalties and a freekick were enough for the hosts Morocco to push past a lively Uganda side and puts them through to their first ever Women’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals. Despite labouring for much of the game, the Atlas Lionesses prevailed in what was another difficult game against unfancied opponents.
Story of the game
Buoyed by another strong home crowd, the Atlas Lionesses started the brighter of the two. Pressing more effectively than they had in their first match, and suffocating the Ugandan’s passing game.
With their tales up they won an early penalty, Rosella Ayane running onto a through ball before cutting inside and being cleared out.
The decision initially went against the hosts, but VAR overturned the ruling allowing for Ayane to slot home the penalty and score her first competitive goal for Morocco.
The Ugandans, having once again gone behind thanks to a penalty were on the back foot, and Morocco looked like they could overrun the East Africans.
That was until the Crested Cranes pulled out an equaliser from no where. Sumaya Komuntale caught out keeper Khadija Er Rmichi with a freekick from out wide. The left back curled a delicious shot into the top corner at the near post to bring Uganda level.
With their confidence up, Uganda were able to play their technical style of football, finishing the half the stronger of the two sides. On the stroke of half time, a lovely pass from Shamirah Nalugya played through Fauzia Najjemba, but she dragged her low finish wide.
Reynald Pedros needed to change things at half time and he clearly had a word with his charges, as they came out with much more energy in the first half. Just minutes after kick off, Ayane nearly had her second, but for an excellent block from Phiona Nabbumba.
But Uganda were not to be phased by the home side’s pressure. Once again, they rode out the storm and were able to create chances. This time it was Ritah Kivumbi’s cross that went through a crowd of players and easily could have been turned home.
With the introduction of playmaker Sanaa Mssoudy on the hour mark, Morocco had a new impetus. Captain Ghizlane Chebbak tested her range with a good strike which Ruth Aturo was equal to.
But once again, it was the quality from set-pieces that came to the rescue of the Atlas Lionesses. Chebbak, who scored from a freekick in the first match, played a delicious cross which was met by the head of Nesryne El Chad.
Things went from bad to worse for Uganda when goal scorer Komuntale gave away an innocous penalty when her stray arm caught Ayane in the face. The blow coming two-fold as it was her second yellow card and she was sent off.
Chebbak dispatched the second penalty with ease, effectively killing any Uganda come back and sealing the three points.
Stand out player
Rosella Ayane was a willing runner in her first match against Burkina Faso, and so it was again against Uganda. She won and scored the penalty in what was otherwise a poor half for the hosts. The Tottenham Hotspurs forward came close twice to scoring in the second half and won the second penalty not through, her on the ball work, but rather her tenacity to press the Ugandan defence.
While she will be disappointed she still hasn’t scored from open play, she will no doubt be pleased with her work up front tonight.
Uganda – Aturo (gk, c), Nakibuuka, Namirimu, Nabbumba, Komuntale, Nabirye, Naluga, Nabweteme, Ikwaput, Najjemba, Kivumbi
Substitutes: Nambi, Ainembabazi
Senegal – Er Rmichi (gk), Reduani, Mrabet, El Chad, El Haj, Nakkach, Amani, Chebbak, Hassani, Tagnaout, Ayane
Substitutes: Mssoudy, Saoud, Jraidi