CAF Champions League (Preliminary Round, Return Leg)
- Vipers (Uganda) 1-0El Merriekh (Sudan)
- Vipers qualify to the next stage after 2-2 aggregate score
Special moments in life have always called for special efforts executed by special players in special arenas during special platforms.
Along the aforementioned wavelength, a special player in Abraham Ndugwa delivered the reigning Uganda Premier League champions Vipers Sports Club to the next stage of the CAF Champions League.
Ndugwa’s 46th minute goal was the difference as Vipers edged Sudanese giants El Merriekh 1-0 during the return leg of the CAF Champions League preliminary round at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Wednesday.
The Ugandans had a week earlier lost 2-1 away in Khartoum with a priceless away goal from Dan Sserunkuma.
During the well contested return leg before hundreds of fans at the St Mary’s, the two sides approached the game cautiously.
Vipers were largely troubled by El Merriekh danger-man Ahmed Mahmoud in the opening stanza of the game but the defence line was equal to the task to thy midst.
The visitors were forced into an early change when defender Nemer Salaheldin was stretchered out for Mohamed Idris inside the opening 20 minutes.
Tito Okello was culprit of a missed scoring oppotunity after he tapped wide with the goal at his mercy.
Brian Nkuubi and Geofrey Wasswa got booked by FIFA Referee Abdoul Karim Twagiramukiza in a space of five minutes between the 25th and 31st minutes.
Upon restart, Ndugwa lit up the St Mary’s stadium with a calm and composed finish past goalkeeper Abuzaid Salman Monged two minutes into the second half.
Ndugwa slid past Ahmed Ahmed and Salahedin before finishing over the goalkeeper Monged to spark wild celebrations.
Three minutes later, Bakhit Maki Saifeldin replaced Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Idris for the visitors’ second change on the evening.
Vipers came up with a double change with a quarter of an hour played into the second half.
Noah Wafula and Davis Kasirye took over the places of Moses Waiswa Ndhondhi and the goal scorer Abraham Ndugwa respectively.
The changes meant a change in strategy for the home side.
Vipers’ hard tackling midfielder and team captain Taddeo Lwanga got his mandatory booking for rough play on Mohamed Mahamoud on the hour mark.
Goalkeeper Ibrahim Ssekagya denied El Merriekh skipper Mohamed Abdel Rahman Yousif from close range after 62 minutes in what seemed to be a good scoring moment.
Hagar Ali Mohamed was the final change for El Merriekh, taking over the slot departed by Ahmed Ahmed after 72 minutes.
Substitute Kasirye denied his club the opportunity to double the lead when he blasted the ball high of the goal posts from close range after a good pass from Okello.
There were cautions for El Merriekh’s Mohamed Mahamoud and Musa Dhiya towards the game’s closing stages.
Vipers qualify to the next stage of the tournament and will face Constantine of Algeria at the close of the year.
Team Line Ups:
Vipers XI: Bashir Ssekagya (G.K), Livingstone Mulondo, Yayo Kato Lutimba, Halid Lwaliwa, Geofrey Wasswa, Tadeo Lwanga (Captain), Brian Nkuubi, Moses Waiswa Ndhondhi (59’ Noah Wafula), Abraham Ndugwa (59’ Davis Kasirye), Tito Okello (88’ Ibrahim Kiyemba), Dan Muzeyi Sserunkuma
Subs Not Used: Derrick Ochan (G.K), Joseph Jjanjali, Brian Kalumba, Tom Masiko
El Merreikh XI: Abuzaid Salman Monged (G.K), Mohamed Mahamoud, Khaled Taha, Mohamed Abdel Rahman Yousif, Ahmed Mahmoud, Dhiya Musa, Salaheldin Nemer, Amir Kamal Suliman, Ahmed Ahmed, Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Idris, Ramadan Agab Sherief
Subs:Esam Eldin Abdulrahim Shamila (G.K), Yasir Gabir, Bakri, Babeker,Hamza Zakaria, Tajeldin Elnour Badawi, Tag Abdel Rahim, Mohamed Hagar Ali,Mohamed Idris, Ali Aboeshren, Saifeldin Malik Bakhit Maki, Boubacar Moumouni Abdoul Magid, Mohamed Abdallah
Center Referee: Abdoul Karim Twagiramukiza (Rwanda)
Assistant Referee 1: Dieudonne Mutumyimana (Rwanda)
Assistant Referee 2: Honore Simba (Rwanda)
Fourth Official: Louis Hakizimana (Rwanda)
Commissioner: Mzee Zam Ali (Tanzania)
We got the result that we wanted. It was a tough game as well.The day’s strategy worked to perfection. Abraham Ndugwa is a special player just like the rest of the other 28 players on the team squad. He played well today and he remains special as well.
Javier Martinez Espinoza, Vipers Head coach
The most important thing is that the team has qualified. This goal gives me more confidence to continue playing for Vipers. The coach always encourages us and pushes us to do more. With his experience he can help us perform better.
Abraham Ndugwa, Vipers’ forward