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Super 8: Wasteful Vipers require spots to edge Mbarara City, reach finals

Vipers are the first team to reach this year’s Pilsner Super 8 final. (PHOTO/File)

Pilsner Super 8
Vipers SC 1(5)-1(3) Mbarara City FC
St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende
Friday, 09-08-2019

KITENDE – Vipers SC sealed a Pilsner Super 8 finals’ spot on Friday following a penalty shoot-out victory over Mbarara City at the St. Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.

Both sides drew 1-1 and the Venoms proved ruthless from the spot, winning 5-3 in the end.

Brian Ahebwa handed Mbarara City a second half lead which was immediately wiped out by substitute Tito Okello.

Vipers dominated the early exchanges but were struggling to create chances.

On 7 minutes, Karim Watambala sent a delicious free-kick into the area but Brian Nkuubi could not connect cleanly with the ball, allowing Mohamed Ssekeba in the Mbarara City goal to collect the ball calmly.

With pressure starting to mount, The Venoms caught Mbarara on the break, finding themselves in a three on two situation. However Watambala decided to shoot from a long way out, his effort going off target.

With 15 minutes played, Vipers were awarded a free-kick just outside the the Mbarara area but the combination of Abraham Ndugwa and Nkuubi made a mess of it, earning just a corner from it in the end.

With Vipers more on the offensive, they were left exposed at the back and Paul Mucurezi nearly made them to pay but shot straight at Fabien Mutombora after the former KCCA FC midfielder was teed up in the area by Brian Ahebwa.

At the other end, Ssekeba produced a breathtaking stop to deny Ndugwa as Vipers maintained their control in the game.

Mbarara was struggling to deal with Vipers pace upfront and were thankful to see Ssekeba parry Denis Mwezi’s cross on 40 minutes as the former Ssese played tried to set-up Ndugwa for a tap-in.

With two minutes to half time, Mbarara nearly took the lead. After Mucurezi was fouled, Solomon Okwalinga sent a lofted free-kick into the box but Ahebwa who was unmarked, tamely shot at Mutombora who tips the ball over for a fruitless corner.

Vipers started the second half on the offensive with Nkuubi heading over an Innocent Wafula cross on 47 minutes.

Two minutes later, Vipers felt they were denied a penalty when Ndugwa went down under the challenge of Hillary Mukundane but the referee William Oloya waved away the claims.

Ssekeba was having a good day at office, diving low to save Watambala’s effort after the left-footed midfielder was teed up-inside the area by Ndugwa.

Mbarara continued to live dangerously as moments later, Watambala rattled the cross bar and Ndugwa failed to pounce on the rebound while under pressure from Mukundane.

In search for the seemingly elusive opener, the Venoms called for a first change, introducing debutant Ibrahim Kayiwa in place of Nkuubi on 58 minutes.

Three minutes later, Watambala hut the cross bar once again. The St. Mary’s Kitende graduate neatly controlled Wafula’s low cross before shooting onto the bar.

With pressure mounting on them, the Ankole Lions made their first substitution with Ibrahim Orit withdrawn and replaced by Malweth Wol.

Wol found himself in the thick of the action straight away as he saw his header cleared off the line after Mutombora had parried Okwalinga into the South Sudanese international.

On 65 minutes, Frank ‘Zaga’ Tumwesigye replaced Innocent Wafula as the Venoms looked to introduce more energy upfront.

In a final throw of the dice, the Venoms made their last change, sending on Tito Okello in place of Mwezi.

A minute later, St. Mary’s Stadium was stunned as Mbarara took the lead. Ahebwa shown great commitment and determination as he lashed onto a routine long ball, dinked the ball over Halid Lwaliwa and then lobbed Motombora to hand his side a 1-0 lead.

However, their lead lasted for only a minute as Okello who had been on the field barely two minutes, equalized after he was played in through on goal by Ndugwa.

The Venoms should have doubled their tally moments later but Zaga shot over off Ndugwa’s cut-back.

With 8 minutes to play, Mbarara got a glorious chance to win it but Wol shot at Mutombora while one on one with the custodian after he was played through on goal.

Brian Ahebwa had another chance to win it but hesitated in the area after he was played in by Mucurezi, allowing Aziz Kayondo to neak the ball out for a fruitless corner.

In the end, both sides could not be separated in 90 minutes, requiring spots from the penalty mark to decide who marches onto the final.

In ths shoot out, Vipers converted all of their 5 spots with Okello, Kayiwa, Ndugwa, Zaga and Mutombora all finding the back of the net.

For Mbarara, Ahebwa, Mukundane and Pestis Balenga scored while Ronald Otti missed.

In the end, Vipers won the shootout 5-3 to reach the final where they will take on either KCCA FC or Onduparaka who face off in the other last 4 contest.

Teams used

Vipers SC XI

Fabian Mutombora (gk), Paul Willa, Aziz Kayondo, Bashir Asiku, Halid Lwaliwa, Siraje Ssentamu, Karim Watambala, Innocent Wafula, Brian Nkuubi, Abraham Ndugwa, Denis Mwezi.

Mbarara City FC

Mohamed Ssekeba (gk), Zaid Byekwaso, Jasper Ahebwa, Ronald Otti, Hilary Mukundane, Pestis Balenge, Solomon Okwalinga, Paul Mucureezi, Brian Ahebwa, Ivan Eyamu, Ibrahim Oriti.

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