Tito Okello scored against the country of his birth as South Sudan beat Uganda 1-0 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Monday to pick their first win of the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
Okello converted from the penalty spot to give the South Sudanese victory and slow down Uganda’s march to the AFCON. They however remain bottom of Group B while Uganda are second with seven points.
Both teams finished the match with 10 men, Uganda’s Khalid Aucho being sent off after 31 minutes with a straight red while South Sudan had substitute Saad Musa sent off for a second yellow card with 10 minutes left.
South Sudan went to the break a goal up from Okello’s penalty, the striker scoring against the country of his birth. South Sudan were given the penalty after Allan Okello hacked down Manyumow Achol inside the box.
The penalty came just five minutes after Aucho was sent off for a straight red card after pulling Okello as the last man in defence, the striker going through on goal after intercepting a short pass from Timothy Awany, destine for Aucho.
Before the goal, the two sides balanced in chances, each giving a go at goal. The Ugandans had the first effort at goal in the fifth minute when Okello cut back the ball for Faruk Miya, but the forward’s shot at goal was weak.
South Sudan had their chance in the 21st minute when Makueth Wol found some space on the right from a cross on the left, but his stinging shot flew straight into keeper Dennis Onyango’s arms.
Miya had another chance five minutes later from a freekick, his well taken effort flying just over the bar.
After they went one man down, Uganda went straight into a change, Kizito Luwaga being hauled off for Mike Azira as coach Jonathan McKinstry opted to sort out the defensive midfield gap.
Uganda piled the pressure in the second half and the introduction of Emmanuel Okwi spiced up the attack. Okwi had a chance on the hour mark when he broke into the box but his shot was saved by the keeper one on one and the rebound from Okwi flew straight to the custodian.
Miya had two good chances for Uganda, first his freekick from range going narrowly wide while in the 73rd minute, his well placed curler rattled the crossbar.
South Sudan were rattled in the 80th minute when Musa was sent off for a second yellow card, but Africa’s youngest nation managed to contain the remaining minutes to ensure they picked victory.