Kampala. Vipers’ progression to the next round of the Caf Champions League yesterday didn’t come in the most spectacular fashion expected from a home side.
They had to dig their heels deep in the 1-0 laboured triumph over Al Merriekh at Kitende, missing a couple of chances and surviving a few scares.
After an indifferent first half,largely dominated by the calm vistors, Vipers started strong in the second half which yielded Abraham Ndugwa’s 48th minute goal that came off Geoffrey Wasswa’s teasing pass from the right wing.
The forward then took out his opponent with his first touch before calmly lifting the ball over the goalkeeper.
Still there were traces of discomfort in coach Javier Martinez’s side as attacking midfielders Brian Nkuubi and Moses Waiswa struggled to link the midfield and attack line.
“We knew we had to win and had a strategy of scoring early. But we created chances and got the goal,” Vipers coach Javier Martinez said after the game.
Tito Okello had a first half effort deflected narrowly wide after beating his marker while substitute Kasirye blazed over from six yards in the second half.
Merriekh playmaker Mohamed Mahamoud was a constant threat to Vipers backline threading in passes to Mohamed Abdel and Mohamed Hashim only to be halted twice by custodian Bashir Sekagya.
With victory in sight, Martinez went for counter-attacking substitutions throwing on Kasirye, Noah Wafula and Ibrahim Kiyemba.
The result saw Vipers progress past the first stage of any continental cup competition for the first time after falling to Nigeria’s Enyimba in 2016 and to south Africa’s Platinum Stars last year.
Vipers 1-0 Al Merriekh
Vipers progress on away goals