Ochan’s red card key as Vipers assume lead

Sunday February 21 2021
soccer01pix

Red mist: Referee George Elemu sends off Police custodian Derrick Ochan after 40 minutes of the top of the table clash between the Vipers and the Cops on Friday. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE.

By Denis Bbosa

It is still talk of the town and will probably be until the end of the season.

On 40 minutes at the near- empty St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende, referee George Olemu produced a moment of madness - showing Police custodian Derrick Ochan marching orders as Vipers trailed Police 2-1 and their tongues out.

The air in the end -to -end StarTimes Uganda Premier League affair between the two clubs was instantly deflated.

Tempers flared as debate on whether Ochan had punched the ball way out of the penalty box or inside ensued. Olemu, at first hesitant, made the decision to send off Ochan and award the hosts a free-kick after consultations with his assistant Juma Osire.

It touched many nerves as Police chairman, Assistant Inspector General of Police Asan Kasingye raced from the VIP box to the turf to protest the decision – but it stood.

As Ochan took an early shower, Thomas Ikara replaced him with Police coach Abdallah Mubiru convinced to battle on with ten cops.

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It did last. After eight minutes, Ibrahim Orit, who had given Vipers the lead, leveled matters with a fine header from Paul Mucureezi free-kick.

Police that had scored through Brian Mululi and Eric Ssenjobe weren’t giving up the fight yet, and threaten Vipers every time they counter-attacked.

Their resolve was broken on 75 minutes when substitute Ceaser Manzoki was given room in the box to control the ball and send it beyond Ikara’s reach.

Vipers lived to die another day as they went toip of the log with 18 points from eight matches. Police, brilliant start to this league season still had them second with 16 points before yesterday’s games.

The chaos aside, the tense contest illustrated how a free-flowing and counterattacking outfit Police has been molded to be.  Yet Mubiru will not take comfort in losing his first stern title test.  
For Fred Kajoba’s Vipers, it was the second time in three days they were required to produce a comeback which points to work in progress.

Bright Stars renaissance
At Kavumba, Sulaiman Ssebunza, Samuel Kayongo Ssekamatte and Jamil Kisitu Nvule scored for Soltilo Bright Stars in the 3-0 triumph over free-falling UPDF.Bright Starts are now tied on 12 points with UPDF ahead of their visit to Kyetume.  

Onduparaka are gradually restoring the Green Light Stadium in Arua as a fortress after they hammered visiting Kyetume 3-1 even when they missed star man Living Kabon.

Med Mohammed Kyeline (brace) and Emmanuel Oketch  gave the Caterpillars stand-in coach Mubarak Wamboya  delight as they climbed to third on 15 points.

Uganda Premier League...Friday results
Onduparaka 3-1 Kyetume
Bright Stars 3-0 UPDF
Vipers 3-2 Police
Mbarara City 0-0 Busoga United

dbbosa@ug.nationmedia.com

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