SC Villa put aside their off pitch troubles, to register a 1-1 draw with Vipers SC at the St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende on Tuesday May 29 in the quarterfinal first leg of the Stanbic Uganda Cup. Villa has been in the news for wrong reasons lately, after the club captain, Asuman Harishe disclosed in a newspaper interview last week, that they have gone months without pay.
Harsishe’s disclosure did not go down well with the club hierarchy. As a result, he did not lead out his teammates. However, a last minute header by midfielder Ronald Ssekiganda saw Villa leave Kitende with their heads held high despite the recent embarrassing news. So, they will head into the second leg next month buoyant, as a goalless draw will suffice, to get them into the semifinals.
Villa came into this game well aware of the kind of threat Vipers posed. And the fact that they had just lost to Vipers 1-3 ten days earlier in the Uganda Premier League, a smart football approach was needed, to avert another annihilation.
Coach Edward Kaziba, the Villa tactician said that they had to keep it tight throughout the game, to avoid a repeat of the previous match. Besides, this being a two-legged affair, Villa made sure they left Kitende with a fighting chance in Bombo in a couple of days time.
For most of the match, Villa played a counter attacking game. And although they appeared to fashion some good chances in the first half, the final execution did not come off right. Either it was the final ball missing, considering that Bashir Ssekagya in the Vipers goal was largely untested, or the conviction to initiate a real onslaught on the hosts’ goal was lacking.
On the other hand, it was Vipers that did most of the attacking, camping in the Villa half for most of the second half. However, Vipers lacked the cutting edge to make Villa for sitting back most of the time. In fact, Geoffrey Wasswa and Gavin Kizito did a tremendous job intercepting so many balls, that came into their penalty area.
But there was not enough link up play between the Vipers midfielders and the forwards. It was not the kind of game, where Vipers strikers Ceaser Manzoki and Yunus Sentamu had ample service to punish Villa, at least not the kind that substitute forward Lawrence Tezikya got, when he came on, to give Vipers the lead.
Midfielder Paul Mucureezi’s well weighted pass straight to the head of Tezikya was brilliantly directed into the goal, eluding Villa goalkeeper Martin Ssenkooto. Ssenkooto had been impressive throughout, coming off his line on numerous occasions to punch away Vipers’ crosses.
In the first half, Ssenkooto kept out the one gilt-edged chance Vipers had, when, with a full stretched arm, dived to slap away Yunus’ header by the goal-line. Overall, this game lacked the usual spark normally seen in Vipers/Villa games.
Paul Kiwanuka, the Vipers assistant coach noted that he did not feel they played as well as they can. But hopes there will be a reaction in the second leg in Bombo. But before that, Express FC host KCCA FC in Wankulukuku on Wednesday May 26 in what is expected to be cracking Uganda Cup quarterfinal first leg.