CAF Champions league: Preliminary Round (1st Leg):

Vipers (Uganda) 1-0 Enyimba Stars (Nigeria)

Uganda’s Vipers sports club take a one goal advantage over their Nigerian counterparts, Enyimba Stars Football club ahead of the CAF champions league preliminary round return leg in a fortnight in Lagos.

Uganda Cranes forward, Erisa Ssekisambu fresh from the CHAN 2016 championship in Rwanda scored the price-less goal after 74 minutes on Friday at Nakivubo war memorial stadium in Kampala under cloudy conditions.

After a promising first half exhibited by the reigning Nigerian champions, Vipers rallied efforts to make an impact in the second stanza of the game watched by a capacity lively crowd.

Former TP Mazembe star, Mike Mutyaba had a curling free-kick that hit the lower post at the quarter hour mark off a bumpy hard surface.

Earlier, winger John Ssemazzi was played through by Kezironi Kizito only to be let down by a heavy first touch on the ball.

Seven minutes later Kezironi Kizito had a shot from 25 yards blocked by the lanky center half, Uche John Akabueze.

Mutyaba had an attempt narrowly off target after a well laid ball from Ssemazzi.

With the visitors piling more pressure, Joseph Chinedu’s free header was cleared off the line in a goal melee for yet another fruit-less corner for the away team.

The visitors were dominant throughout the opening half with five corner kicks earned to Vipers’ one.

Midfielder Kezironi Kizito was booked with five minutes to the climax of the half. The home team’s technical bench headed by George Nsiimbe called for a first half change.

Defensive midfield shield, Patrick Sembuya paved way for the dread-locked Allan Kyambadde after 40 minutes.

Vipers sports club then returned completely a different entity in the second stanza of the game.

Four minutes after restart, Ssekisambu laid a well weighted ball but Ssemazi failed to make the slightest of all contacts.

A minute later, Ssemazi who was wasteful on the evening got withdrawn for forward, William Wadri.

Midfielder Halid Luwalira became the second Vipers player to be cautioned on the day after Kizito’s first booking in the first half.

Luwalira was punished for a malicious foul on Ojo Oluma Damilare.

Mutyaba had two free-kicks from distance blocked but was closer when his 40 yard effort was parried by goalie Theophilus Afelokhai.

An on-rushing Sekisambu missed the rebound with the entire defence beaten.

On 65 minutes, indecisiveness from goalkeeper, James Alitho to parry an aerial ball nearly cost the home side dearest.

Towering forward, Peter Onyekachi headed wide the effort much to the relief of the home fans.

Then arrived the defining moment of the day that proved the difference.

With a quarter of an hour left on the clock, Kizito released Sekisambu on the left and the latter raced inside the area, making no mistake from 10 yards from an acute angle.

The chest pumping celebration from the former SC Villa winger cum striker spoke volume of the significance of the well booted strike as he was joined by the other teammates.

Enyimba Stars executed all their three changes mandated by the CAF match rules and regulations.

Lanky forward Olufemi Oladipo paved way for Anaezemba Nzube, Daniel Essien Etor replaced a wasteful Joseph Osadiaye before Stephen Chukwude came in the place of Christian Pyagbara with minutes fast trickling out on the clock.

Teenager Pius Wanji had a rare taste of African Champions league football when he replaced the tired but effective legs of Mutyaba inside the last ten minutes of the game.

The visitors surged forward for the equalizer but in vain with the very last effort of the half cleared in a goal melee following a curling corner.

Vipers now carries the goal cushion ahead of the return leg in two week’s time.

Line Ups: Vipers S.C XI:

James Alitho (G.K), Nicholas Wadada, Dan Bilikwalira, Halid Lwaliwa, Yusuf Mukisa, Patrick Ssembuya (40’ Allan Kyambadde), John Ssemazzi (51’ William Wadri), Deus Bukenya, Kezironi Kizito, Erisa Sekisambu, Mike Mutyaba (81’ Pius Wanji)

Subs Not Used:

James Ahebwa (G.K), Brian Nkuubi, Musa Malunda, Duncan Sseninde

Enyimba Stars XI:

Afelokhai Theophilus (G.K), Lidoji Chinedu Joseph, Akabueze John Uche, Ugwu Uwadiegwu Henry, Ojo Oluna Damilare, Anyanwa Emmanuel, Andrew Abalaogu, Peter Onyekachi, Christian Pyagbara (83’ Stephen Chukwude), Olufemi Oladipo (58’ Anaezembe Nzube), Joseph Osadiaye (60’ Etor Daniel Essien)

Subs Not Used:

Moses Ocheje (G.K), Anaemena Ifeanyi, Ike ThankGod, Kester Oahimijie

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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