Uganda v Mali

Uganda face Mali in their final Africa Cup Of Nations Group D encounter on Wednesday knowing they cannot reach the quarter-finals, while the Eagles have a slim chance of progression.

Milutin Sredojevic's charges breezed through the qualification phase of the tournament – registering four victories from their six matches played to set-up their first appearance at the continental showdown after a 39-year absence.

The Cranes were unable to replicate their pre-tournament form though and were eliminated from the competition following 1-0 losses to Ghana and Egypt, and languish last in the latest group standings.

The east African country will be looking to conclude the tournament with a favourable result in a bid to keep their pride intact, whilst also maintaining the momentum for their World Cup qualifying campaign, which has seen them garner a 0-0 draw and a 1-0 win against Ghana and Congo respectively.

Sredojevic revealed that his side's exit from the tournament is a hard pill to swallow, citing the manner in which the games were decided.

"We have come after 39 years and paid for the lesson in a hard way," he said in his post-match comments.

"We came here to play three Cup finals – the first we lost on a penalty to Ghana and the second we lost in the last minute on the counter-attack.

"We will see how we play the last match but the ambition remains that we want to go home with pride and with a win," he concluded.

Uganda are to be without the services of shot-stopper Denis Onyango who picked up a knock against Egypt, while forward Muhammad Shaban is doubtful. 

Mali, meanwhile, enjoyed a relatively easy 2017 AFCON qualification campaign – winning five and drawing one of their six matches to finish as leaders in a group which consisted of Equatorial Guinea, Benin and South Sudan.

The Eagles now occupy third spot in Group D with one point amassed from their two allotted encounters – 1-0 loss to Ghana and a 0-0 draw against Egypt.

As a result, Alain Giresse's side will need to defeat Uganda in their final group encounter – preferably by a large scoreline without conceding – in addition to hoping that Pharaohs lose their game against Ghana, which will allow them progress to the quarter-final stage.

Mali have not fared well in their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign and have picked up only one point from their first two games – conceding a 3-1 defeat to Ivory Coast and playing to a goalless draw against Gabon.

Giresse shouldered the blame following his side's 1-0 loss against the Black Stars, saying that he could've made better substitutions.

"I take full responsibility for the loss against Ghana," he said in his post-match comments. 

"I could have done better with the substitutions so it is my fault," he concluded.

Mali boast a full strength squad for their tie against Uganda at the Stade d'Oyem, which is scheduled for 21h00.

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