Djibouti forward Mahdi Houssein celebrates his winning goal against Burundi during their Group A match at the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala, Uganda on December 11, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 11 – Erstwhile known as the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup whipping boys, Djibouti showed their growth under new head coach Julian Mette after beating Burundi 2-1 in their second Group A match at the Lugogo Complex in Kampala on Wednesday to send the Swallows out of the tournament.
Mahdi Houssein hit a double, scoring the winning goal for Djibouti off the penalty spot in the 72nd minute to hand them victory and inch closer to a place in the semi-finals as they are now on four points from two matches.
“I am really happy that we won today but I felt we didn’t play as well as we did in the first game. But we are now closer to the semis and we will now have to play a final against Eritrea on Friday and hopefully qualify for the semis,” Mette told Capital Sport.
Houssein broke the deadlock early to stun the Burundi backline which was low on confidence after losing two matches on the trot.
Burundi however hit back in the 13th minute when Landry Ndikumana scored with a half volley from the edge of the six yard box after a poorly defended corner.
Burundi were dominating the chances, but didn’t seem interested in scoring.
On the half hour mark, Olivier Dusabe stepped in from the left but his shot was saved by the keeper for a corner while on the other end, Fouad Moussa’s cross from the left whistled across the face of goal begging for a touch to direct it into the net.
Burundi had more chances in the second half but still, they couldn’t find the back of the net. Ndikumana had a chance when he swept away everyone inside the box including the keeper, but instead of taking the shot passed to Dusabe who was closed in quickly.
Djibouti keeper Innocent Mbonihaukoye made a brilliant double save to deny both Dusabe and Ndikumana with shots from range.
For all the missed chances, Burundi were punished in the 72nd minute when Houssein scored his second from the spot after skipper Rachid Narerimana handled inside the box as he tried to cut out a Ali Youssouf cross.
Houssein came close to adding his third of the afternoon minutes later when his curling shot was pushed against the bar by the Burundi keeper.
Burundi piled pressure in the final minutes of the game and at the death almost snatched a point but the Djibouti keeper made a brilliant point blank save to deny substitute Issa Nsabimana.
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A lover of sports who seeks to tell the African story in an African way. Top ten finalist of the Abu Dhabi Sports Media Pearl Awards. Be it on the pitch, court, track, pool or course, the story will be told. On twitter @olobulu