Uganda Hippos journey at U20 Africa Cup of Nations agonizingly came to an end on Thursday after falling to Nigeria in the quarterfinal clash played at Suez Canal Authority Stadium.
The painful defeat meant an end to the attempt at qualifying for the U20 FIFA World Cup.
Despite putting up a formidable performance on the day, Uganda Hippos did not get the much desired cutting edge.
The decisive moment of the game was an own goal by left back Ibrahim Juma.
Coach Jackson Mayanja made changes to the team that had faced South Sudan in the final group game.
Juma, Isma Mugulusi, Ivan Irinimbabazi and John Paul Dembe who were all rested on Sunday returned to the starting XI.
Uganda started the better side marching Nigerians for the bigger part of the game.
Dembe had the first attempt of the game, testing the Nigerian goalkeeper in the sixth minute.
Two minutes later Rogers Mugisha has his effort deflected for the first corner of the game.
The resultant corner nearly gave Uganda the lead with Irinimbabazi’s powerful header but goalkeeper Chijoike Aniagboso parrying the ball away.
It was Nigeria that broke the deadlock at the half hour mark through Juma’s own goal.
Ibrahim Muhammad’s strike on the left hit the goal post before deflecting off Juma’s sheen.
Uganda kept surging forward in an attempt to find the equalizer before the break but all in vain.
At the start of the second half, coach Mayanja made two changes bringing on Umar Lutalo and Saidi Mayanja for Titus Ssematimba and Mutyaba respectively.
Mayanja came close to finding the equalizer twice while Dembe too had an effort at goal but could not find the outlet.
Nigeria defended resiliently to hold onto their lead and proceed to the semifinals.
Uganda’s starting XI
Abdu Magada (GK), Apollo Kagogwe, Ibrahim Juma, Rogers Torach, Ronald Madoi, Ivan Irinimbabazi, Isma Mugulusi, Titus Ssematimba, John Paul Dembe, Travis Mutyaba, Rogers Mugisha