Vipers into Cup final despite defeat

Solitilo Bright Stars striker Nelson Senkatuka scored the only game of the game but his side coudln't climb out of a 4-0 first leg hole. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Isabirye anticipates a well-contested final against Angello Lonyesi's Police that ousted Adjumani TC on away goals rule in the other semifinal.

Vipers' league-winning coach Alex Isabirye has warned Saturday's Stanbic Uganda Cup final opponents Police to expect a much hungrier and revamped opposition when the two sides collide in Lira.

Having rested four first team players yesterday in the 1-0 semifinal second leg loss to Soltilo Bright Stars at Kavumba, Vipers largely lacked the sharpness and killer instinct that would make the Cops lose sleep.

Three days after thumping Busoga United 5-0 to lift the sixth StarTimes Uganda Premier League, Vipers grappled with fatigue, anxiety and bits of complacency against the Stars that had nothing to lose.

" Some players had it in mind that we were already through having won 4-0 in the first leg at Kitende. I opted for hungry players to kill off the contest and I'm happy we did.

"That said, expect a different kind of Vipers on Saturday that will fight tooth and nail to win the league cup double," Isabirye told Daily Monitor.

Vipers fended off a possible upset yesterday when Asaph Mwebaze's gained the lead on 40 minutes after a defensive mistake by teenage center-back Rogers Torach left Soltilo Bright Stars forward Nelson Senkatuka with only one option - placing the ball beyond goalkeeper Fabien Mutombora.

Senkatuka had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 two minutes later and thrust the Venoms into some kind of panic but was denied by Mutombora's acrobatic save from close range.

Vipers attacking trio of Abbdu Lumala, Martin Kizza and Karim Ndugwa looked lost at sea in the first half and never troubled Bright Stars goalie Shanon Mulabi.

In the second half, Vipers showed some urgency and zeal with left winger Kizza forcing a save from Mulabi after being set up by midfielder Bright Anukani on 53 minutes.

Mulabi also kept out substitute Ibrahim Orit's snap shot while attacking midfielder Karim Watambala agonizingly watched his effort go narrowly wide.

Bright Stars offered less going forward in the second half forcing Mwebaze to withdraw forward Sam Ssenyonjo for Emmanuel Loki all to no avail.

Wary of Cops

Isabirye anticipates a well-contested final against Angello Lonyesi's Police that ousted Adjumani TC on away goals rule in the other semifinal.

"It won't be a one-sided finals as many predict because Police ejected defending champions Bul and are former league kings (in 2005)," Isabirye, who beat Vipers in Masindi last year to lift the Uganda Cup with Bul, revealed.

Police will vest their hopes in the tried and tested services of Ronald Ssempala, Herman Wasswa, Tony Kiwalazi, Samuel Kayongo and Davis Mutebi to foil Vipers third attempt at bagging a maiden double.

The winner of the Uganda Cup takes home Shs50m and earns rights to feature in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Stanbic Bank Uganda Cup

Semi-final second  leg


Bright Stars (1) 1-0 (4) Vipers

Final, Saturday 

Police vs. Vipers, Akii-Bua Stadium-Lira