Uganda Premier League
Express FC 2-0 Onduparaka FC
Mutessa II Stadium
Eric Kambale was the hero as Express FC defeated Onduparaka 2-0 at Wankulukuku on Wednesday.
The forward who has scored several vital goals for the Red Eagles this season, netted twice in the last 11 minutes on an afternoon that Express missed several chances.
First, he collected from Martin Kizza before firing in with his weaker left-foot from just outside the area on 79 minutes.
He then headed in from a Kizza free-kick after substitute Ivan Mayanja was fouled.
Onduparaka who had never lost to Express at Wankulukuku before Wednesday, looked a side deprived of inspiration on the day and barely created chances.
Victory sees Express consolidate third spot with 43 points, four off the top.
For Onduparaka, they stay in 11th with 24 points from 21 games.
Wasteful Red Eagles Just About Get Job Done
Express have put themselves in the title conversation after a blistering start to the campaign coupled with huge results against the big boys including the 1-0 win at Vipers SC last Saturday.
Much of the decent run has been down to the fact that they are virtually unbeatable at home winning five and drawing four in their opening nine games.
Coming up against Onduparaka, they must have know it wouldn’t be easy as they had never defeated the Caterpillars at Wankulukuku on their previous four attempts.
The quadruple of Charles Musiige, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Martin Kizza and Eric Kambale were once again tasked with ensuring Express got the job done.
Musiige made several brilliant runs into the area and tried to tee up his mate. He got into a good position after some fancy control but opted to play in Kambale rather than go for goal before blazing over from just outside the area.
Lwesibawa was looking all nerves as he has gone a while without scoring. The former Tooro United forward had a fierce drive from a well-worked free-kick with Kizza charged down and on more often than not, made the wrong decision.
Kizza was the same old one, trying to execute fancy tricks and on some occasions crossing into the area. He rose highest in the area but his header went straight at Kagiri to gather comfortably. He however set up Kambale for both goals, once again justifying his high-profile arrival a few months ago.
Kambale always looked like the safe bet to net on an afternoon that was frustrating especially in the first half. He had an audacious effort somehow saved by Michael Kagiri before shooting wide from a good position.
He also had a shot charged down and another, from a header, cleared off the line by Joel Jangeyambe.
John Byamukama who netted the screamer against Vipers looked a shadow of the player that was awarded with the man-of-the-match accolade at Kitende as he rarely had a sniff on goal. His side-footed effort off a Kambale pass could only find the wrong side of the net.
When substitute Frank Kalanda lashed onto Kambale’s flicked pass and hit effort bounced off the top of the cross bar, there was a strong feeling that may be it was not to be Express’s day before Kambale happened.
Onduparaka’s Unbeaten Run At Wankulukuku Comes to Crashing End
Onduparaka have struggled of late as they have moved closer to the bottom three than that the top half.
Not even a change in the coaching looks to have altered their fortunes and have lost four out of their five matches under Julius Mutyaba.
On the back of three straight defeats including the last two at home, the Caterpillars came into this one deprived of confidence.
A mixture of poor finishing and luck kept them in the contest throughout the first half but their attack was showing little signs of hurting the Red Eagles at the other end.
They were shooting from distance as they found it hard to break down the Express defence. Noel Nasasira, Gabriel Matata and Kabon Living were all not getting any joy as their efforts were either going wide or over.
Nasasira nearly broke the deadlock early in the second half but his effort was pushed over by Chrispas Kusiima.
Onduparaka will be disappointed by the manner in which they conceded the first goal.
After miss communication on the touch-line coupled by a missed opportunity to make substitution that would have seen the injured Kagiri replaced by former Express custodian Tony Kyamera.
When Kambale took aim for the goal, Kagiri stayed rooted to the spot and the ball found the back of the net and it was after the goal, that he was taken off.
The second was all down to Kambale’s brilliance as he dived low to meet Kizza’s ball from a free-kick.
Having won three and drawn one of their past four visits to Wankulukuku, the manner in which they lost on Tuesday must have hurt but they were just not good enough on the day.
In their next fixtures, Express will take on URA FC in a Uganda Cup double before hosting Police FC in the league.
Onduparaka will take on SC Villa in the cup and then travel away to URA FC in the league.
How both teams started
Chrispas Kusiima (GK), Denis Mubuya, Enock Walusimbi, Murushid Juuko, Sadiq Ssekyembe, Mahad Yaya, John Byamukama, Charles Musiige, Martin Kizza, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Eric Kambale.
Michael Kagiri (GK), Allan Busoboozi, Hakim Magambo, Najib Tusaba, Derick Ochen, Denis Andama, Mahdi Ajobe, Joel Janeyambe, Noel Nasasira, Gabriel Matata, Living Kabon.