StarTimes Uganda Premier League
Vipers SC 1-0 Ndejje University
St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende
Defending league champions Vipers SC required a stoppage time goal to take care of newly promoted Ndejje University in their league opener at Kitende.
Substitute Davis Kasirye was the hero on the day, scoring in the 91st minutes to hand Mexican tactician Javier Martinez Espinosa a debut win.
Vipers took the game to Ndejje from the on-set as Bashir Asiku sent in a low cross which was spilt by Ndejje custodian Derrick Emikole but last season’s top scorer Daniel Sserunkuma could not capitalize as he shot high rebound straight at the keeper.
In the third minute, Noel Nasasira sent a deep cross into Viper’s penalty area and after a scramble, Anwar Ntege shot straight at Fabian Mutombore in the Venom’s goal.
Ndejje continued growing into the game, and Sam Matovu who looked calm in possession tried his luck from distance only to see his fierce drive saved comfortably by Mutombora.
Seconds later, Vipers want on the offensive at the other end. Tito Okello sent a low cross into the area and again Emikole spilt it but Richard Sekubomba saved his blushes as the defender deflected Frank ‘Zaga’ Tumwesigye’s goal bound rebound out for a corner off the left hand post. From the resultant corner, Dickens Okwir headed wide Aggrey Madoi’s pin-point cross.
Minutes later, the Venoms were at it again, this time it was Asiku who shot venomously at Emikole who pureed the ball out for a corner.
The first booking of the game and season went to Ndejje’s Isa Mubiru for a clumsy foul on Tito with 26 minutes played.
Just after the half hour mark, Moses Waiswa raced down the pitch and tried to lobe Emikole from distance but the custodian saved comfortably. Waiswa’s teammates Dan Sserunkuma and Okwir were left furious as they had caught Ndejje naping and had the midfielder decided to play either of them in, he would be one on one with Emikole.
With four minutes to play in the first half, Anwar who had sustained an injury after following Venom’s captain-Tadeo Lwanga’s challenge earlier in the half, was taken off and replaced by Dickens Kilema.
The game picked more life towards the and of half time. Matovu ran through on the Vipers goal and crossed low but Isaac Mayanja failed to connect with the ball on the turn.
At the other end, Waiswa sent in a delicious cross but Sserunkuma and Zaga somehow failed to connect as it went out for a goal kick.
At the stroke of half time, Waiswa and Zaga played several short passes to one another but the former could only look on as his fierce drive went inches wide of the target.
In stoppage time, Sserunkuma had the best chance of the first but failed to find the back of the net as he tapped weakly a Tito cross while standing inches away from the goal line.
Following a 20 minute delay at half time as Ndejje coach Raymond Komakech had failed to produce his licence, the match resumed and Martinez brought on Duncan Sseninde in place of the in effective Dickson Okwir.
Ndejje who had spent almost the first five minutes of the second half socking up pressure finally tested Mutombora following a long throw by Mwima Abdallah but Kilama’s header could not beat the Congolese custodian.
The second booking of the game was shown to Bernard Katetemera who fouled Waiswa as the Vipers midfielder tried to build an attack from the centre circle.
Dan Sserunkuma who looked a shadow of the player who won last season’s top scorer’s gong had a chance to put Vipers ahead on 64 minutes but his header off Madoi’s cross was saved low by Emikole.
With Vipers searching for a goal, they made another substitution three minutes later. New signing Davis Kasirye came on for Zaga.
The lanky striker found himself un marked in the box with 17 minutes of the game to play but headed Asiku’s cross straight at Emikole.
With time running out, Ndejje resorted to time-wasting tactics and Mwima was booked for delaying a restart.
Emikole in the Ndejjje goal who seemed unbeatable all day was at it again with eight minutes to play when he saved Tito’s low shot from inside the area after Vipers had passed their way through the University side’s back-line.
When Kasirye again headed straight at Emikole with two minutes to play, the St. Mary’s stadium went into silence as many seemed to be resigned to taking only a point from the game.
However, the striker had other ideas and in the first minute of added on time, the former SC Villa player made amends for his earlier misses, tapping in a Tito low cross from the right to give the home side a priceless lead.
It was heart break for Ndejje but three vital points on the side of Vipers who start their league title defence on a high.
The other league games played on Friday:
-KCCA FC 2-1 Tooro United
-Kirinya JSS 2-2 SC Villa
-URA 2-0 Paidah Black Angles
-Bright Stars 3-1 Maroons
-Onduparaka 2-0 Nyamityobora
-Mbarara City *-* Express (PP)