Edrisa Lubega struck just after the half hour mark to earn 10-man Uganda Hippos a crucial 1-1 stalemate at Kigali Regional stadium, Nyamirambo in the first leg of the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.
Rwandan forward Blaise Itangishaka had earlier given the hosts a 1-0 headed lead on 18 minutes off a brilliant cross from Dominique Savio Nshuti.
The visitors also finished the game 10 men after goalkeeper Saidi Keni saw red following a foul on Itangishaka just outside the penalty box.
The Hippos will, however, be pleased by the come-from-behind performance but more importantly that they got that crucial away goal.
With the Hippos down to ten, coach Kefa Kisala had to ring changes. And fast. He immediately replaced Yasin Mugume with Vipers goalkeeper goalkeeper James Aheebwa.
The hosts pushed for the winner but Uganda held on for the crucial share of spoils.
The return leg will be played on April 23 in Kampala with the winner over the two ties facing Egypt in the second round on the weekend of May 20-22.
The reverse fixture of the second round will be played on the weekend of June 10-12.
Seven qualified teams will join hosts Zambia for the tournament that starts February 26 to March 12 next year.
Rwanda XI: Jimmy Nzeyurwanda, Ewing Ndagijimana, Aman Niyonkuru, Ange Mutsinzi, Arafat Sibomana, Salum Yamini, Jabel Manishimwe, Kevin Muhire, Abeddy Biramahire, Blaise Itangishaka, Savio Nshuti Dominique (Captain)
Uganda XI: Keni Saidi, Umaru Mukobe, Hassan Musana, Geofrey Wasswa, Halid Lwaliwa (Captain), Daniel Shabena, Nicolas Kagaba, Julius Poloto, Edrisa Lubega, Emma Oringa, Yasin Mugume