The debutants gave their best in Mauritania to eliminate the favourites and qualify for the last two where they will play the West Africans.
Uganda, once again, defied odds to defeat Tunisia 4-1 to qualify for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations at Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Monday night.
A hat-trick from Derrick Kakooza and a strike from Richard Basangwa gave the East Africans a massive win over their opponents who scored through Ben Lamin.
The debutants started the match on a high and needed just five minutes to shock the North Africans with their first goal. Gavin Kizito managed to get past Aziz Guesmi before feeding Basangwa who finished well.
The goal was a wake-up call for the Tunisians who reacted by attacking the Hippos regularly. But the Morley Byekwaso charges were steady and composed and managed to stop them.
The Ugandans doubled the advantage in the 37th minute when the scorer turned provider. The Vipers SC attacker did all the donkey-work before setting Kakooza up who had no problem finding the back of the net.
With five minutes to go, Tunisia pulled a goal back. Goalkeeper Jack Komakech parried a goal-bound effort and the rebound fell to Lamin who ensured he had halved the deficit.
The goal, however, did little to send the Hippos into panic mode. As a matter of fact, they upped their tempo and were unlucky not to score a third just seconds to the break as Isma Mugulusi's attempt came off the woodwork.
If the young Carthage Lions had hopes of making a comeback after the break, then they were dashed five minutes after the restart. Poor marking allowed Bobosi Byaruhanga enough space and he took his time before picking the advancing Kakooza.
The forward timed the ball well and kept his cool to complete his brace and score the team's third.
Substitute Ivan Bogere set up Kakooza after a swift counter-attack in the 85th minute, and the latter did not hesitate to score his third and ensure his team reached the finals in their debut.
The Hippos will now play Ghana in the finals scheduled for Saturday, March 6. The latter defeated Gambia by a solitary goal, scored by Precious Boah, at the same venue to advance.
It was timely revenge for Abdul Karim Zito's charges who gave away a lead to fall 2-1 to the Gambians in their first meeting at the tournament in the group stage.
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