Hope springs eternal for Vipers after first round display

Wednesday December 5 2018

Captain Taddeo Lwanga (L) led Vipers against

Captain Taddeo Lwanga (L) led Vipers against Sudanese champs Al Merriekh. COURTESY PHOTO 


KAMPALA. Vipers SC coach Javier Martinez Espinoza will look to that late goal in Khartoum by second half substitute Daniel Mzee Sserunkuma last week and fancy his team’s chances.
The three-time Ugandan champions and representatives in this season’s Caf Champions League welcome Sudanese giants Al Merreikh today knowing they have a starting point. In a match where Al Merreikh were awarded two penalty kicks, with one of them missed in the first, it could have been worse.

The hosts did eventually score from the second penalty call when Livingstone Mulondo handled in the box and Bakri Almadina converted on 79 minutes. Ibrahim Altag made it 2-0, placing the ball beyond Vipers stand-in goalkeeper Bashir Sekagya but the experience of Sserunkuma, on for Abraham Ndugwa, came to the fore late on for Vipers to return home with all to play for at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.

And head coach Espinoza believes. “They had two penalties in one game but remember we have scored away so we have a chance in St Mary’s Stadium,” said the Mexican.
“We attacked whenever we had the opportunity but they defended better. We have another 90 minutes in Uganda.”
Sserunkuma’s crucial goal means that should Vipers edge the tie at St Mary’s 1-0; the Ugandans will have progressed to the next round where either Gamtel of Gambia or Algerian giants Club Sportif Constantinois await on December 14.

A 2-1 victory for the home side would call the encounter into a penalty shootout whereas any draw would see the Sudanese through.
Vipers will have to be extra careful not to give away penalties at home and Espinosa will have to decide whether to start with the same attacking resource he deployed in Khartoum or ring some changes.