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CAF CC: KCCA fall short despite Aheebwa hat-trick

By Shafic Kiyaga
Brian Aheebwa and Keziironi Kizito celebrate one of their goals against AS kigali | KCAA FC photo

Brian Aheebwa scored a hattrick but his efforts came short of achieving the dream come back they were chasing, as the club was eliminated from the Confederations Cup at the first round qualifying stage.

KCCA went into the game chasing a two-goal deficit from the first leg, but they fell short despite registering a 3-1 victory over AS Kigali at the St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Wednesday evening.

The Kasasiro Boys had the start they had dreamed of, Brian Aheebwa scoring just 15 seconds from kick-off.

The summer signing, playing in his first Confederations Cup game capitalised on a weak clearance from AS Kigali defender Christian Isimwe to power his shot into the bottom corner.

But were almost made to pay immediately after going ahead, Muhadjiri Hakizimana latching onto a poor pass from Musa Ramadhan to set Hussein Tshabalala through on goal, but KCCA goalkeeper Charles Lukwago pulled off a fine save to deny the forward.

Muhadjiri and Tshabalala’s pace were a handful for KCCA defenders who had a couple of close chances in behind but Lukwago came to the fore, pulling off incredible saves to keep his side in the game.

The Kasasiro Boys managed to ride a wave of sustained pressure from Kigali, and put the tie back to level terms, Bright Anukani setting up Aheebwa who made no mistake from just inside the box, finding the bottom corner.

AS Kigali coach Eric Nshimiyimana reacted by pulling off Tumaini Ntamuhanga for burly Nigerian forward Alex Ortomal with half time looming.

At the start of the second half, Mike Mutebi also rang a couple of changes, bringing on Steven Sserwadda and Sadat Anaku for Sam Ssenyonjo and Joseph Kafumbe as KCCA went in search of the sucker punch.

But they were dealt another blow after Ramadhan conceded a penalty three minutes into the second half, bundling down Aboubakar Lawal.

Muhadjiri stepped up to send Lukwago the wrong way and put Kigali one foot into the play-off round qualifiers in the 49th minute. But the talisman’s day came to an end minutes later as he was stretched off with an injury.

Kigali lost their talisman Muhadjiri to injury after the hour mark.

With KCCA seemingly drained of hope, Aheebwa handed them a lifeline, completing his hattrick with 13 minutes to go, rushing onto Ashraf Mugume’s threaded through ball to slot past Batte.

Kigali almost put the game beyond KCCA’s reach, Ortomal beating his marker but his cut-back was beyond his compatriot Lawal at the far post to set up a nervous end to the game.

Aheebwa the hero of the day, had two glorious opportunities late on but his shot from just inside the penalty was saved by Batte.

Aheebwa again used his pace and power to beat two defenders onto a long ball from Mugume, but Batte again did brilliantly to deny him.

Kigali progress to the play-off round qualifiers and await to learn who they play for a chance to enter the group stages in the draw that will be held on January 8, 2021.

How they lined up:

KCCA FC XI: Charles Lukwago (GK)(C), Denis Iguma, Musa Ramadhan, Herbert Achai, Kizza Bukenya, Ashraf Mugume, Joseph Kafumbe, Kezironi Kizito, Bright Anukani, Sam Ssenyonjo, Brian Aheebwa

Subs: Hassan Matovu (GK), Filbert Obenchan, Samuel Kato, Steven Sserwadda, Charles Lwanga, Peter Magambo, Dominic Ayella, Sadat Anaku

AS Kigali: Shamiru Batte (GK), Hassan Rugirayabo, Christian Ishimwe, Hassan Karera, Emery bayisenge, Eric Nsabimana, Rachidi Kalera, Tumaini Nfamuhanga, Hussein Tshabalala, Muhadjiri Hakizimana, Aboubakar Lawal

Subs: Rugero Chris (GK), Bosco Kayifaba, Eric Ndayishimiye, Abeddy Biramuhire, Alex Ortomal, Rurangwa Amos, Fiston Nkinzingabo, Benedata Jamier, Bishira Latif, Pierrot Kwizera

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