KAMPALA (Xinhua) -- Mali has maintained their lead in Group E of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after holding hosts Uganda to a goalless draw.
Uganda started well with defender Isaac Muleme’s freekick after nine minutes that Mali’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro tipped over the goal post.
Mounkoro again punched Joseph Ochaya’s shot a few minutes later, while the visiting side grew confident and started dominating play at the St. Marys Stadium, Kitende.
On 28 minutes, Mali’s Adama Traore missed a free-kick from close range after Ugandan defender Murushid Juuko had fouled outside the box. Juuko was later yellow carded for a bad challenge at 34.
The two teams came all out in the second half to break the deadlock, but Ugandan defender Juuko was sent off the pitch for another bad challenge on Ibrahima Kone after 66 minutes.
Despite changes by Uganda’s Coach Milutin Sredojevic, the hosts failed to score.
Mali’s coach Mohamed Magassouba said he was disappointed with the draw because they got many scoring opportunities.
Sredojevic said the draw was good enough since they had a player sent off early in the second half.
“It is not easy to play a talented team of Mali with a player less,” he added.
Mali now lead Group E with four points, while Kenya, who drew 1-1 with Rwanda on Sunday, are second with two points, ahead of Uganda on the same points. Rwanda are bottom of the log with just one point.