The biggest game of Tuesday’s Uganda Premier League pitted high flying Bright Stars as against a red hot Express at the Champions Stadium in Mwererwe.
Both teams had not lost in their previous three games winning two and drawing once though the hosts had the momentum as they had scored seven goals in their preceeding games. Express, however, were off the back of a strong 1-all draw against Vipers.
Express who seem to have put their poor results last season to the side have been a different side this season. Heading into this one, coach Kefa Kisala promised an array of attacking football despite missing the services of danger man Tony Odur.
Express were the better side as they pinned Fred Kajoba’s men into their own half and this early pressure was to pay off in the 10th minute when midfielder Kayiwa Ibrahim set up youngster Eric Kambale as the visitors took an early lead.
However, Kajoba and team were not to take this lying down. They had some answering to do and nearly found a quick equaliser in the 13th minute but Express goalie Kyamera smartly saved the effort.
By this time, the game had opened up and was pretty much end to end. Michael Birungi, who was quiet on the evening was presented with an opportunity from a free kick just outside the area after Kambale was brought down but Birungi’s effort didnot go beyond Bright Stars wall as they cleared their lines.
Congolese striker Kambale who has surely grown in influence at the Red Eagles was again at the center of proceedings near the half hour mark when this time they exchanged roles with Kayiwa as he provided an inch perfect pass through Stars defence but Kayiwa failed to connect well with the ball as he shot directly at Hamza Muwonge in goal.
From this moment on, Bright Stars went into second gear. Express could not keep up as they started living life on the edge as the stars poured forward. First Dan Birikwalira found Nelson Ssenkatuka but his header was just wide. And then minutes later, striker Brian Kayanja found the back of the net from a well struck shot past Kyamera with just over half an hour played.
Senkatuka was at it again at the stroke of half time. Cutting inside the right back and sending in a fierce shot which was well matched by Kyamera who stayed down requiring treatment as the game reached half time.
Sadly, it was the end of the day for the young goalkeeper as he was replaced by Ronald Mutebi at the start of the second stanza. Bright Stars again started with piling more pressure against the Red Eagles who defended well against two corner kicks.
Express were forced further back into their own defence for much of the second half and again had Mutebi to thank after he superbly went down to deny Kokas Opejo from close range as the forward was left alone and allowed a chance at goal.
With 10 minutes to play, Bright Stars again should have punished Express but Senkatuka who was clearly not on his best day failed to capitalise on a long throw in as he headed over the bar with just Mutebi to beat. Two minutes later, goal scorer Kayanja could not add to his tally as he missed by far the best chance of the game shooting over the bar with just the goal at his mercy.
There would be no further chances for either side to get three points and they had to settle for a draw. The point earned elevates Bright Stars into second on 15 points, ahead of KCCA on goal difference while Express remain sixth with 13 points and a point below fifth placed BUL Bidco.
Villa remain at the bottom of the pile.
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