Wednesday, August 4
*Nyasa Big Bullets 1-1 Express
*Atlabara Vs Young Africans, 7pm
Thursday, August 5
*Azam Vs Messanger Ngozi, 4pm
*KMKM vs KCCA FC, 7pm
Express FC and Nyasa Big Bullets shared spoils in a thrilling Group B encounter on Wednesday at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.
The Red Eagles took an early thanks to a clinical finish from Muzamir Mutyaba but a second half goal from Chiukepo Msowoya handed the Malawian guests a deserved point.
Nyasa Big Bullets enjoyed more of the ball but Wasswa Bbosa’s Express created the best chances in an end to end thriller.
Eric Kambale missed a keeper-to-beat chance late in the game when he was put through by Godfrey Lwesibwa but the forward shot weakily at goal.
The result means that Express remain on top of Group A with four points but will need to avoid defeat in their last group game against Young Africans on Saturday to advance to the semis of the ongoing CECAFA Kagame Cup.
Express Will Rue Missed Chances
After beating Atlabara 1-0 in their opener, Express FC put themselves in good stead to qualify to the semis.
The Red Eagles needed victory to confirm a spot in the last four going into Wednesday’s tie.
They could not have asked for a better start when Muzamir Mutyaba slotted in the opener after five minutes.
And it was a beauty – Lwesibawa robed Nyasa’s defender possession, drove to the byline before making a cutback to Muzamir. The former KCCA FC midfielder who was one of the two changes made by Wasswa Bbosa from the opening fixture lineup, beat his marker for dead before bulging the net.
That was the first goal for Mutyaba who was later taken off for Ivan Mayanja in the second half.
Mayanja almost made an impact when he was picked in the box by Kambale but his effort was just too weak to trouble the goalkeeper.
Kambale had an encounter with the goalkeeper when he beat Miracle Gabeya but could not squeeze a shot past the shot stopper who was equal to the effort to send the ball into the corner.
Mayanja was once again handed another opportunity thanks to Lwesibawa but the pint-sized midfielder saw his effort blocked by Gabeya who had thrown his body on the line.
It was then when Nyasa scored at the other end of the pitch, 1-1.
In the 75th minute, Express had their best chance and it fell to their best man. A defence split pass from Lwesibawa to Kambale was poorly skewed by the forward to leave Coach Bbosa reeling.
Kambale could have scored later from when he stormed into the box to meet a freekick but he was smashed into a melee with a keeper and his defender.
Nyasa Big Bullets Show Character
Nyasa had a poor start when they conceded in the fifth minute but remained in shape.
They stuck to their game plan but kept pressing and played with a lot of confidence.
They dominated the next 10 minutes or so after going a goal and down as they suffocated their prey with relentless attacks.
And when it was not yielding results, coach Peter Mponda made two early substitutions including Hassan Kajoke in the 23rd minute.
It looked like he had pressed a panic button, but that’s what coaches live for.
Express contimued to chase shadows as the Malawian league record winners dictators proceedings with pace across all flanks.
They got half chances; Idana Chimwemwe shot over from freekick while Murushid Juuko cleared out of danger after goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa had mis-timed a teasing cross into his area.
Kajoke had a chance to level matters before end of the first half but his chested effort was just over the bar, with goalkeeper Mutakubwa already beaten.
They finally got their breakthrough in the 65th minute; Chiukepo freed himself from Juuko to receive a headed assist which he slotted below Mutakubwa.
And they almost got the second in the next minute but Nigerian forward Ajepoju Babatunde’s diving header was just an inch wide of Mutakubwa’s goal frame.
Paul Kansungwi, off the bench, almost scored with his first touch but his classy volley off Chiukepo cross went wide.
Chiukepo could have snatched maximum points for the Malawian giants but Mutakubwa dived at his near post to ensure the Red Eagles remain in the game.
How both teams lined up:
Express FC – Joel Mutakubwa, Enock Walusimbi, Arthur Kiggundu, Isa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Mahad Yaya Kakooza, John Byamukama, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Martin Kizza, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Eric Kambale.
Big Bullets FC – Ernerst Kakhobwe, Eric Kaonga, Nickson Nyasulu, Miracle Gabeya, Chimango Kayira, Gomezhani Chirwa, Benson Manyozo, Chimwemwe Idana, Mcfarlane Mg’wira, Babatunde Adepoju, Bright Munthali.