A first-half strike is all that the Uganda Cranes needed to beat rivals Rwanda for the Pearl of Africa’s first victory of the FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification campaign.
Bayo was well-positioned to score in the 41st minute off Bobosi Byaruhanga’s initial shot that had been blocked following a free-kick delivery from the left side by Czech Republic-based Isaac Muleme.
This was the Cranes first victory over Rwanda on the Amavubi Stars home soil in 11 attempts.
It is also the first time Uganda are winning a competitive game since the 1-0 victory over South Sudan in the 2022 Afcon qualifiers last November.
For long spells of the opening half, the home team looked better, moving the ball faster and dominating possession, but failed to take advantage for scoring chances.
At 18 minutes, Rwanda striker Medi Kagere missed a decent opportunity to score after good work by Rafael York.
In the added minutes of the opening half, two minutes after Uganda’s goal, striker Haruna Niyonzima almost grabbed the equalizer but his blocked shot went straight into Charles Lukwago’s hands.
Bobosi Byaruhanga had a decent chance five minutes after the restart but could only watch on as his shot sailed wide off the mark.
Head coach Milutin’Micho’Sredojevic’s boys managed the rest of the game well with proper defending as they saw out the entire 90minutes.
The victory takes Uganda to the apex with five points ahead of Mali(four) and Kenya (two) who wrap it up later in the night.
Rwanda will hope to avenge the defeat in three days with a return leg at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Sunday.
Uganda Cranes XI: Charles Lukwago (GK), Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Enock Walusimbi, Timothy Awanyi, Khalid Aucho (Captain), Taddeo Lwanga, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Moses Waiswa, Azizi Fahad Bayo, Steven Mukwala
Subs: Isima Bin Rashid Watenga (GK), Alionzi Nafian (GK), Innocent Wafula, Aziizi Kayondo, Mustafa Kiiza, Livingstone Mulondo, Geofrey Wasswa, Najib Fesali, Shafik Kagimu, Julius Poloto, Ibrahim Orit, Martin Kizza, Cromwell Rwothomio, Yunus Sentamu