Abraham Ndugwa in action against Al Hilal Omdurman at St Mary's Kitende (Credit: John Batanudde)

CAF Champions League (Preliminary Round)

1st Leg: Vipers Sports Club (Uganda) 0-1 Al Hilal Omdurman (Sudan)

It is advantage Sudan’s Al Hilal Omdurman over Uganda’s Vipers ahead of the return leg for the preliminary round of the CAF Champions league next weekend.

The Sudanese side won the first leg 1-0 off the astro turf of the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende in a game played behind closed doors because of the Coronavirus pandemic and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) were enforced as a mitigation tool.

Waleed Bakhiet scored the all important goal in the first half of the game also watched by the Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry.

After a confident start that was proceeded by a moment of silence for the legendary Argentine super star Diego Maradona, the hosts steadily faded when the visitors gained ground.

Debutant Jamil Kalisa had a fifth minute shot narrowly wide inside the goal area in our of the earliest threats by Fred Kajoba Kisitu’s charges.

A minute later, it was Vipers again when Abraham Ndugwa tackled goalkeeper Ali Abdullah Abu Ashrin on the edge of the goal area and the visitors were lucky to escape unhurt.

The battle for the ball at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende (Credit: John Batanudde)

On the quarter hour mark, goalkeeper Fabian Mutombora reacted quicker off the line to handle a headed clearence from midfielder Siraje Ssentamu off  Alsamalh Mirghani’s free-kick.

There was a penalty shout from Vipers not given after Abraham Ndugwa released roving left back Disan Galiwango for a teasing cross that seemed to have come off the hand for one of Al Hilal’s defenders.

Al Hilal Omdurman won their first corner-kick after 20 minutes following a deflection off Nizar Hamid’s free-kick from 25 yards.

Vipers’ hard tackling midfielder Siraje Ssentamu got cautioned for a late challenge on Abu Aqla Abdullah.

Al Hilal Omdurman players celebrate their lone strike at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende (Credit: John Batanudde)

Al Hilal took the lead in the 25th minute through Bakhiet bullet shot inside the goal area after the Vipers’ defenders failed to deal with a long throw-in.

In the 40th minute, Eid Moghaddam headed out all alone off a perfectly weighted chip from captain Nasreddin Al Shagil.

Karim Watambala then shot the home side’s first on target effort from 25 yards but goalkeeper Ali Ashrin was equal to the task at hand.

Defender Geofrey Wasswa in action against Al Hilal Omdurman (Credit: John Batanudde)

Vipers called off winger Milton Karisa for debutant Ibrahim Orit on the stroke of half time.

The home side had the last attempt when defender Geofrey Wasswa shot a distant free-kick on target.

Upon restart of the second half, Al Hilal Omdurman’s midfielder Nizar Hamid was cautioned by the Somalian referee for a late challenge on Watambala.

Lanky Congolese forward Cesar Manzoki arrived late to meet Ndugwa’s left footed cross in the 50th minute.

Moments later, overlapping Bashir Asiku crossed into the opposition goal area but Manzoki’s acrobatic overhead kick missed contact.

Ten minutes into the second half, Ndugwa chest passed for  Watambala who shot over.

At this time, Vipers called for a double change. Ndugwa and Kalisa paved way for dread-locked Daniel Sserunkuma and David Bagoole respectively.

Bagoole released Galiwango on the far left and the wing back dribbled into the area but his low delivery was blocked for a fruitless corner-kick.

On the hour mark, Vipers’ captain Halid Lwaliwa headed over a curling corner-kick from Watambala.

In the 65th minute, Vipers’ fourth change witnessed left back Galiwango rested for winger attacker Paul Mucureezi

Mucureezi’s impact was instant. He crossed a high ball well headed away by Ivorian defender Muhammad Ouattara.

The former KCCA and Mbarara City winger then laid a low ball for Sserunkuma who was denied access to the ball and in the process the forward fouled Al Hilal goalkeeper Ali Ashrin.

It took a three minute medical break for Ashrin who swiftly recovered to solider on.

Abraham Ndugwa in action against Al Hilal Omdurman at St Mary’s Kitende (Credit: John Batanudde)

In the 75th minute, Mucureezi once again delivered a telling delivery from the right but Sserunkuma and Orit both missed contact inside the goal area.

Yet another cross by Mucureezi was a routine collection by goalkeeper Ashrin who jumped high to collect the high ball.

The home side remained positive and Watambala nearly assisted for Manzoki who arrived late at the back post with 7 minutes to play.

Orit had a 20 yarder ground shot saved for a corner kick that he curled in for Sserunkuma who out-jumped the defenders to head out.

Against the run of play, Al Hilal had a quick counter attack but Mutombora parried the ball out for a corner-kick.

It was  time out and the devastation from the hosts players was shown by the dejection for many who fell on the ground pondering the next step forward.

The return leg will be played next weekend in Sudan with 2-0 win good enough to see advancement to the next stage (first round).

Team Line Ups:

Vipers SC XI: Fabien Mutombora (G.K), Bashir Asiku, Disan Galiwango (65′ Paul Mucureezi), Halid Lwaliwa (Captain), Geofrey Wasswa, Siraje Ssentamu, Jamil Kalisa (58’ David Bagoole), Karim Watambala, Milton Karisa (43’ Ibrahim Orit), Cesar Manzoki, Abraham Ndugwa  (58’ Daniel Sserunkuma)

Substitutes Not Used: Bashir Sekagya (G.K), Denis Kiggundu, Livingstone Mulondo, Rashid Toha,, Allan Kayiwa

Al Hilal Omdurman XI: Ali Abdullah Abu Ashrin (GK), Alsamalh Mirghani, Muhammad Ouattara, Tayeb Abdel Razek, Faris Abdullah, Nasreddin Al Shagil (Captain), Abu Aqla Abdullah, Nizar Hamid, Walid Al-Shulah, Eid Moghaddam, Vinny Combi Bongonga

The match referees from Somalia limbering prior to the game (Credit: John Batanudde)
Vipers 0-1 Al Hilal Omdurman Highlights (Credit: Ug Sport)

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

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