Uganda Premier League
Express FC 1-0 Busoga United FC
Mutessa II Stadium, Wankulukuku
Friday, 05-03- 2021
Express FC maintained their unbeaten start to the current campaign as they held on to overcome Busoga United FC 1-0 at Wankulukuku on Tuesday.
Frank Kalanda scored the only goal of the game, netting from a penalty after Eric Kambale was brought down in the area.
It was a game that proved tricky for the Red Eagles and looked to hang on to the slender lead as it entered into its final stage.
The victory ensures Wasswa Bbosa’s side moves top of the table on 28 points, one ahead of Vipers SC whose match-day 12 fixture at Mbarara City FC is on Saturday.
For Busoga, they remain third from bottom with just five points from 12 games.
Red Eagles continue flying
Express have shown clear indications that they will be in the thick of the title race this season and maintained exactly that on Friday.
Despite seeing two players forced off with injuries, the Red Eagles who ate now 12 games unbeaten, somehow, grinded out a victory on what is arguably their hardest test so far this campaign.
Just like in all the previous 11 games this season, Express started brightly, pinning Busoga United in their own half and trying to create early openings.
The first came inside two minutes with Kalanda putting the ball in the back of the net but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside as the striker received Arthur Kiggundu’s pass beyond the visitors defence.
Moments later, Kalanda was guilty of missing from a decent position as he collected from Charles Musiige before side-footing wide of the target.
Having found himself in the thick of things, early, the former URA FC striker would not be denied on 22 minutes as he took responsibility after Eric Kambale was brought down by Busoga custodian Omedwa Togers, converting the resultant penalty.
Express looked to be in control of proceedings but everything seemed to have changed after Arthur Kiggundu was taken off with injury and replaced by the right-footed Denis Mubuya at left-back.
With Mubuya struggling at the back, the Red Eagle’s momentum going forward was lost and they resorted to fast breaks as a form of hurting Busoga.
Both Lwesibawa and Musiige saw rashes efforts sail wide and over and the former had a free kick from a good position charged down by the visitor’s five-man wall.
Bbosa sensed danger at his left-back position as decided to switch captain Enock Walusimbi with Mubuya.
Express were dealt another injury blow that forced them into a change at the start of the second half with Musiige taken off and replaced with Ibrahim Kayiwa prompting a change in shape.
With lesser energy going forward, they resorted to controlling the game in the middle with chances few and far in between.
After Kambale turned the Busoga defence inside and out, his low cross could not be turned home by Kalanda who completely missed it and also saw another snap-shot head wide of the mark.
Kalanda started the season in poor form and lost his starting place to the now-injured George Ssenkaba but on Friday, in the second half, looked the most likely to add onto Express’s day’s tally.
As the game wore on, he volleyed over after he was set up by Kambale off a Lwesibawa clever free kick and also shot wide and over from just outside the area.
Kambale who also had a fine display cutting in from the left tried to seal the contest but shot over after going past two Busoga United defenders before finding himself one on one with Omedwa but only seeing his effort thwarted by the custodian’s legs.
Busoga once again fail test
Busoga came into the as one of three sides yet to register a victory in the Uganda Premier League this season.
From the word go, they looked like a side deprived of confidence as they sat back and tried to absorb early pressure.
After they were lucky to see the referee rule out Kalanda’s cross, they let Express play some fancy combinations with Kalanda letting the ball role to Kambale who played a neat one-two with Lwesibawa before Kambale was taken down in the area by Omedwa’s outstretched hands for the penalty.
After Mubuya came on, the Students looked intent on exploiting his shortcomings as he is a right-footed full-back at left-back.
The move was paying off big time as Busoga started creating chances down Express’s left.
Anthony Mayanja received beyond the stranded Mubuya but his low cross could not get the telling touch it required from Ssaka Ssozi and the ball ran out for just a goal kick.
Ssozi then collected from Mayanja but his angled strike went straight at Mathais Muwanga in the Express goal.
Busoga continued attacking and causing all sorts of issues for Mubuya, twice seeing penalty claims waved off and also having the former Tooro United FC defender booked.
After the change in shape by Express, Busoga seemed to fail to regain the rhythm they ended the first half with and were more on the back foot.
They resorted to speculative strikes from distance but, first, Kirya Jeromy shot straight at Muwanga before Otwao Abubakar forced the custodian into a fine save from a free kick.
How both teams started
Mathais Muwanga (GK), Enock Walusimbi, Arthur Kiggundu, Isa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Mahad Yaya, Abel Etrude, Charles Musiige, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Eric Kambale, Frank Kalanda.
Busoga United FC
Omedwa Rogers (GK), Otwao Abubakar, Kalyowa George, Kakeeto Shafiq, Muganga Douglas, Magero Franco, Kasonko George, Kirya Jeromy, Mayanja Anthony, Ssozi Ssaka, Ssekulima Paul.