Thursday, September 23
*BUL FC 1-0 Express
Express FC have missed out on the slot in the Stanbic Uganda Cup final after a shock semifinal defeat to BUL FC at FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru.
Owen Mukisa scored the only goal of the game, curling in past Denis Otim, after a poor clearance from Issa Lumu in the first half.
The Red Eagles, back in the country on Tuesday after CAF Champions League elimination by Al-Merrikh, were off the pace and failed to create opportunities.
BUL played with only two substitutes, including Ambrose Kirya who made the squad for the first time since recovering for a season long injury.
BUL had released most of their players with licenses of the 2020-2021 season and hence their new signings were ineligible.
The Red Eagles’ closest chance saw George Ssenkaaba’s header ruled out for offside midway in the second half.
BUL CF will meet Vipers, who eliminated Police, in the final at Njeru this Sunday.
Spirited BUL On Brink Of History
Besides the result that saw BUL FC (then BIDCO) earn top flight promotion in 2011, this achievement will rank highest in the club’s brief history since formation on January 1, 2007; 14 years ago.
The win sends them in their first ever Uganda Cup final, a chance for silverware and busk in Sh50m prize money glory.
After tiresome years of attempts, including last season were they were eliminated by minnows Mvara Boys at the round of 64, BUL were determined for a strong cup run.
They eliminated Blacks Power, Kigezi Homeboyz and Proline FC to reach this stage. An easy route on paper as they never faced any UPL side on their way.
Express FC was to give them theor hardest test in the competition, and the fact that they were beaten 4-0 by the Red Eagles in the League at their own back yard, made the tie swing in Express FC’s favour.
To make matter worse, BUL lost a couple of players who had season licenses like Deogracious Ojok, Denis Okot, Robert Mukongotya, Musa Walangalira, Jimmy Kulaba, Vitalis Tabu, Fredrick Kigozi, Anwar Ntege among others.
They had 13 licensed players available, including debutants from their Junior side.
Kickoff. BUL put all the worries aside and took the game to Express.
It was a commendable performance for Alex Isabirye’s charges who kept on attacking and defending as a team.
The goal from youngster Owen Mukisa was a thing of beauty. He calmed his nerve and saw an opening in the top corner where he brilliantly curled in. The goal celebration at the nearby corner flag was a beauty to watch, but it was the final whistle that was garnered wild celebrations after a huge milestone.
The job is halfway done, and the side, playing at a familiar venue, will be fancying themselves to write history.
Red Eagles Brought Down To Earth
About a week ago, Express FC had a dream of CAF Champions League group stages and also sealing an unprecedented season treble.
They were declared League champions after the season was halted again due to Covid19 pandemic and the side went on to win their first ever CECAFA Kagame Cup in Dar Es Salaam.
They beat Al-Merrikh 2-1 at Kitende to take first leg advantage in the first round of CAF Champions League Preliminary round before losing 1-0 to bow out on away goals rule. And few days later, they are out of two competitions.
Its hard to take in for a club that has worked so hard to reach here.
The loss against Al-Merrikh was all but on the cards. The one against BUL will come as a big shock for many fans.
There will be talk of fatigue after back to back games for Express but many will feel that the players did not leave their all on the pitch on Thursday.
They looked disorganised from onset. Donning a white jersey picked from a nearby market, before their original kit arrived before resumption of the second half.
Their focal point of Eric Kambale looked out of place and the side missed the pace of Godfrey Lwesibawa.
Martin Kizza looked to cause all sorts of trouble, and he almost won a penalty when his header was handled by a BUL FC player in the box but the referee was not convinced.
Express did not do enough to keep BUL goalkeeper Sanon Mulabi busy but everytime he was called into action, he proved ready.
The shot stopper saved from Muzamir Mutyaba freekick after Kambale was fouled. He also denied Kambale later in the second half.
Ssenkaaba headed onto the crossbar and he later had a goal ruled out for offside.
Wasswa Bbosa was furious with the referee after the final whistle but he should have to shift most blame to his players who did not do enough on the day.
Express FC’s long search for their 12th Uganda Cup title, which would break them away from 11 with KCCA, will continue for another season.
BUL FC XI: Sanon Mulabi (G.K), Allan Kigundu, Fredson Gwoto, Godfry Akol, Aggrey Madoi, Ibrahim Mugulusi, Owen Mukisa, Thomas Kabaale, Martin Aprem, Musa Esenu, Joseph Ssemujju
Substitutes – John Okurutu, Ambrose Kirya
Express FC – Denis Otim, Enock Walusimbi, Arthur Kiggundu, Isa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Mahad Yaya, John Byamukama, Muzamir Mutyaba, Martin Kizza, Eric Kambale, George Ssenkaaba.
Substitutes – Crispus Kusiima, Denis Mubuya, Richard Bbosa, Ivan Mayanja, Charles Musiige, Daniel Shabena, Abel Eturude