STARTIMES UGANDA PREMIER LEAGUE
Vipers SC 2-0 Soltilo Bright Stars FC
Two days from an energy sapping away victory over Onduparaka FC, Vipers were back at home as they took on Soltilo Bright Stars FC as the battle to reclaim top spot ensued.
After Express dislodged the Venoms off the top with a slim 1-0 win over Kitara FC yesterday, the pressure was on Vipers to secure another three points from a determined side.
Fred Kajoba made two changes to the team that overcame Onduparaka as Captain Halid Lwaliwa and Paul Mucureezi were included to start at the expense of Rashid Toha and Shaban Muhammad respectively.
Following six goalless draws out of the previous 13 meetings between both clubs, it was always going to be a tough challenge for Vipers and while the visitors made sure that was the case by defending in numbers, the Venoms quality eventually shone through with a resounding 2-0 win.
Vipers controlled possession throughout the early proceedings of the match but with little to show until the 20th minute when Yunus Sentamu mistimed volley from Paul Mucureezi cross went over the bar.
However, effects of an earlier away encounter played in a lunchtime scorching heat of Arua, were evident as the Venoms looked fatigued hence lacked dynamism and urgency to break a deep lying Bright Stars.
In the 31st minute, Karim Watambala was fouled and from the resultant freekick, Yunus again missed following a well weighed delivery by Mucureezi.
Four minutes later, Yunus fluffed another opportunity again as his powerful header from Mucureezi’s cross frustratingly sailed over the bar as the Bright Stars defence left him unmarked.
Frustration on Vipers side continued as Congolese Cesar Manzoki wasted another chance 7 minutes to the breather when he opted to volley an Ibrahim Orit cross but failed to hit the target hence both teams went into recess counting zero score.
Nothing changed for Vipers directly after half time and Bashir Sekagya almost gifted Bright Stars undeserved lead when he fumbled with Joseph Akandwanaho’s shot from the left but luckily, he was outside the goal mouth hence conceding a corner which yielded no fruits.
Just three minutes from that scare, Manzoki finally broke the deadlock from a goal mouth melee after goalkeeper Edwin Kiwanuka in Brigh Stars goal, failed to tame a teasing ball from the right by Paul Willa.
In a desperate attempt to find an equaliser, Bright Stars Coach Baker Mbowa rang some changes within his troops bringing on Augustine Kacancu and Jamie Kisitu Nvule for Joseph Marvin and Emmanuel Loki respectively.
Around the same time, Fred Kajoba also made a double substitution by introducing Allan Kayiwa together with Muhammad Shaban in place of Mucureezi and Manzoki to keep on the pressure.
With 14 minutes to the end, Orit failed to connect in front of a yawning net under pressure from Ronald Nkonge after Kayiwa brilliantly laid on a low ball following a fine footwork as he beat his marker.
Trying atleast to pick a point from a scrappy encounter, Mbowa made another double change with 8 minutes to play bringing on Ibrahim Kasinde and James Angu for Samuel Ssekamatte and Akandwanaho but the Venoms stood firm.
With added time approaching, Kajoba brought off Yunus for Jamil Kalisa in a bid to tighten up all the loose ends as defending the slim lead was vital with minutes ticking away.
Galiwango found himself in the referees book for foul play and with almost the last kick of the game, Kalisa sealed it off against his former club after being fed up by Shaban.
After the final whistle, Vipers reclaimed top spot on the StarTimes Uganda Premier League as youngster Musa Ssali picked up the man of the match award.
Up next for the Venoms is another away fixture to the Western side of the country where Mbarara City FC will be waiting.
Vipers SC Starting XI:- Bashir Sekagya, Paul Willa, Disan Galiwango, Bashir Asiku, Halid Lwaliwa, Musa Ssali, Ibrahim Orit, Karim Watambala, Yunus Sentamu, Paul Mucureezi, Cesar Manzoki.
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