Monday, August 2
*Express (Uganda) 1-0 Atlabara (South Sudan)
Dangerman Eric Kambale was the difference as Express FC got off the mark in the 2021 CECAFA Kagame Cup.
Kambale converted from the spot in the fifth minute after he was brought down by Peter Sunday.
Despite dominating proceedings, Express failed to extend their advantage and were made to live dangerously in the closing stages when Abel Eturude was sent off with a high boot challenge over Atlabara defender Ernandez Terra’s header.
Earlier, Kambale thought he had doubled the lead when he directed a header in from Martin Kizza freekick but the goal was ruled out off for offside.
Godfrey Lwesibawa missed a couple of chances on the day, including two clear keeper-to-beat opportunities.
Express FC goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa, marking his debut, pulled out a one-hand save to deny Atlabara who also saw Joseph Muyang fire wide after robbing possession from the Red Eagles defenders.
The Red Eagles, playing their first CECAFA game after eight years, will return to action on Wednesday against Malawi’s Big Bullets before ending the group A games with Young Africans on Saturday.
Express are top of Group A with three points after Young Africans opened with a 1-1 draw against Bullets on Sunday.
Blunt Express Pick Needed Result
Coach Wasswa Bbosa named a strong side, picking from a template that saw him help the side win the Uganda Premier League for the first time since 2013.
The Red Eagles dominated from the word go but lacked effectiveness in front of the goal.
The defence pairing of Issa Lumu and Murushid Juuko was barely troubled in the first half.
Mahad Yaya looked the deal in the middle of the park, Martin Kizza and Godfrey Lwesibwa caused all sorts of trouble from the flanks, but it was Kambale who was the architect on the day.
He held nerves to score from the spot, an early goal set that not only set the tone but got pressure off Express.
He was so much involved thereafter and will feel hard done by Lwesibawa failing to put away his chances when he teed him up.
He freed Lwesibwa on the left side but the pacy winger, with a keeper-to-beat, opted for a cut back.
Lwesibawa was also put through by Kambale with a dinked through ball and after a calm control, his effort was flapped by an on-rushing goalkeeper.
Lwesibawa, earlier in the second half, tapped over the bar after a neat cross from Arthur Kiggundu.
He was later taken off just after the hour mark, paving way for new signing Joseph Akandwanaho who struggled to get things going on the left flank.
Coach Bbosa will be proud of the result but will be demanding more and hope from his boys in the next games.
Promising Atlabara Struggle To Find Breakthrough
Atlabara FC were comfortable on the ball but there was nothing to admire going forward.
The side worked and defended in huge numbers. The same, cannot be said of their efforts up the pitch.
Simon Obligi got a breakthrough when he found space in the Express defence but his weak effort was easily collected by goalkeeper Mutakubwa.
Defender Yom Abdulkarim headed over the bar from the corner in one of the few half chances for the South Sudanese side.
They failed to work the Express defence in the first half but tried to take control of proceedings when Express had Eturude sent off with 20 minutes still to play.
They tested Mutakubwa with a long range drive but the goalkeeper was equal to the effort while Joseph Carlo Muyang shot wide right from outside the box.
Coach Atit Monydeng will try to pick some positives from the loss and hope for better shows in the future.
How both teams lined up:
Express FC XI: Joel Mutakubwa , Enock Walusimbi, Arthur Kiggundu, Issa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Abel Eturude, Mahad Yaya, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Eric Kambale, Charles Musiige, Martin Kizza
Substitutes: Denis Otim, Denis Mubuya, John Byamukama Tooki, Joseph Akandwanaho, Ivan Mayanja, Muzamiru Mutyaba, George Senkaaba
Atlabara FC XI – Lukas Lucheri Indeche, Abdelkarim Mutawakil Yom, Stephen Lawrence Mamur, Chanf Buay Lam, Terra Ernandez, Peter Sunday Makoi, Jimmy Tombe Apollo, Simon Obligi, Karlo Joseph Muyang, John Justin, Terra Fernandez
Substitutes – Khon Mawen, Morris Sunday, James Emmanuel