The Uganda Hippos beat Burkina Faso 5-3 on post-match penalties at the Stade Cheikha Boidiya in Nouakchott to qualify for the Total Africa U-20 Cup of Nations semi-finals.
The two sides cancelled each other under the beaming floodlights in Nouakchott before penalties separated them, Uganda marking their debut with a last four spot.
Goalkeeper Komakech was the Hippos hero when he saved Yacouba Djiga’s spot kick to qualify for the semi-finals in the expense of the Young Stallions. They will now face winner between Morocco and Tunisia in Monday’s semi-final in Nouakchott.
The Young Stallions started the brightly at the Stade Cheikha Boidiya pressing the Hippos back into their area in the early minutes of the match. Left full back Karamoko Bamba found space on the left channel to drill in a low cross towards Brahim Bance, the forward balloon his effort over the goal with eight minutes on the clock.
Stallions’ winger Joffrey Bazie saw his fierce drive from outside the area missed the target; the lively winger regained possession after fullback Chardey’s inviting cross was cleared.
The woodwork came to the Hippos rescue in the 38th minute, exciting winger Joffrey Bazie’s superbly struck free kick canoed off the frame of the goal to the delight of the Ugandans.
Uganda forced a save from the Burkinabe keeper just before the break, Steven Sserwadda and Isma Mugulusi combined outside the Stallions area with the latter’s effort parried away by Komakech.
The Hippos returned from the break with more purpose and zeal, Sserwadda went close ten minutes after the break, the diminutive forward volleyed over the goal.
Oscar Barro’s charges failed to take their chances in the second half, Tiendrebeogo should have hit the target just after the hour mark, Bamba found space on the left to send and inviting cross which Tiendrebeogo headed wide.
The Hippos keeper Komakech denied Chardey with a smart low save on the 66th minute, Joffrey controlled a cross into the box to set Chardey whose deflected pile driver saw saved by the impressive Komakech.
Hippos Isma Mugulusi tried his luck from distance with failed to hit the target with time running out. They could’ve broken the deadlock a minute into stoppage, Isma and Steven Sserwadda played a quick one two outside the area before Sserwadda forced a save from the Burkinabe keeper.
The Ugandans came close for the second time in three minutes, Ivan Bogere was played through but failed to beat the keeper who pulled a brilliant save with his left leg.
The two sides settled for penalties and Komakech stopped Yacouba’s spot whiles Uganda converted their five spot kicks to advance to the semis on their maiden appearance.
Derrick Kakooza opened the gateway for Uganda. Joseph Kizza Bukenya, Najib Yiga and Ivan Bogere followed in that order before defender Kenneth Ssemakula took the decisive penalty.