Vipers SC advanced to the first round of the CAF Champions League after beating El Merriekh of Sudan 1-0 in Kampala advancing on away goals rule with 2-2 aggregate.
Abraham Ndugwa’s 46th minute goal was the difference as Vipers edged Sudanese giants El Merriekh 1-0 during the return leg of the CAF Champions League preliminary round at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.
Vipers SC had lost 2-1 away in Khartoum with a priceless away goal from Dan Sserunkuma which gave the home side a life line for the return leg before their fans at the St Mary’s, the two sides approached the game cautiously.
El Merriekh Ahmed Mahmoud troubled Vipers SC in the first half although the home side defense was very alert to clear out all the clear cut chances from the visitors who were forced into an early change when defender Nemer Salaheldin was stretchered out for Mohamed Idris.
By this time Vipers SC was leaving dangerously at the back making several fouls and referee Abdoul Karim Twagiramukiza booked two Vipers players Geoffrey Wasswa and Brian Nkuubi respectively ending the first half 0-0.
In the second half with only sixteen seconds from the restart Abraham Ndugwa lit up the St Mary’s stadium with a calm and composed finish past goalkeeper Abuzaid Salman Monged.
From this moment the visitor began to launch several attack as the and Bakhit Maki Saifeldin who replaced Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Idris missed a sitter with keeper to beat as Vipers goalie Bashir Ssekagya pulled off a fine save to deny the visitors.
As tensions and pressure were mounting for the home side coach Javier Martinez Espinoza made two changes with Noah Wafula and Davis Kasirye taking over the places of Moses Waiswa Ndhondhi and the Abraham Ndugwa.
Vipers’ hard tackling midfielder and team captain Taddeo Lwanga got his mandatory booking for rough play on Mohamed Mahamoud but few moments later Goalkeeper Ibrahim Ssekagya denied El Merriekh skipper Mohamed Abdel Rahman Yousif from close range after 62 minutes.
The visitor’s final change was Hagar Ali Mohamed replacing Ahmed Ahmed with 72 minutes however the home side would have gone 2-0 hadn’t substitute Davis Kasirye wasted the opportunity when he blasted the ball high of the goal posts with goal keeper to beat.
With few minutes to El Merriekh was desperate for an away goal but in the process Mohamed Mahamoud and Musa Dhiya were cautioned for several fouls.
Vipers SC will now face Algerian SC Constantine who eliminated Gamtel of Gambia aggregate 1-0 in the first round of Total CAF Champions League.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)