Defending champions Uganda romped into the semi-finals of the Cecafa Under-20 Championship after a laboured 3-2 victory over guest side Yemen at Asmara, Stadium on Wednesday.
The Ugandans, who opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over Rwanda as Yemen fell 1-2 to Zanzibar, were expected to easily win on Wednesday but needed a last minute goal for victory against a determined Yemeni side.
The Ugandans took the lead the 12th minute when defender Ivan Bukenya fired home from close range.
Yemen pulled level in the 21st minute when Essam Woraji slotted home a penalty kick.
Yemen controlled most of the second half, running rings around the more physical Ugandans and they took the lead in the 72nd minute when Emad Tawfik pounced on a rebound to slot home.
Patrick Edema levelled for Uganda a lifeline in the 78th minute walking home the ball from a Dan Sserumanga assist.
Saddam Juma fired in an 88th minute free-kick to give the Ugandans a semi- final slot.
Uganda coach Frank Anyau claimed his side ran out of ideas most of the time but was happy to have snatched the three points.
“We have accomplished the first step of this tournament and we are still confident of going all the way,” he said.
His captain Dan Sserunkuma said they had worked together for the past five years and that they looked forward to retaining the title they won in Burundi three years ago.
Yemen coach Sami Al-Naash said he was happy with the way his side played noting that they were on a learning process.
“We are here to prepare our team for the Asian Under-20 tournament, coming in China soon and we must say we are benefiting a lot from this tournament.
Zanzibar 1 Rwanda 1
Zanzibar players scored both goals of their drawn Cecafa Under-20 Championship match with Rwanda in an earlier match.
Saleh Ahmed turned a Rwanda cross from the left flank into his own net to give Rwanda the lead in the 35th minute. Ventrous Kamanya converted a penalty for the two-time former champions to level 1-1 in a match played under heavy rain most of the first half.
The young Rwanda side, comprising only Under-17 players preparing for the African championships of the same category in their country next January, played more strongly than in their opening 1-3 loss to Uganda on Monday.
Kenya thrashed Somalia 6-0 in their second match of the tournament.