On a busy day of local football, SC Villa end Vipers' unbeaten streak while KCCA can only pick up a point on the road against Bright Stars.
STARTIMES UGANDA PREMIER LEAGUE
|Tooro Utd||1-0||Paidha Black Angels|
By Joseph Kizza
On a packed day of Ugandan top-flight football, the top two teams did not have it their way, with table toppers KCCA FC failing to stretch their lead and defending champions Vipers tasting a first defeat of the campaign.
Of the five games on the day, two ended goalless, including KCCA's trip to Bright Stars FC and Onduparaka FC's draw at home. Here is a roundup of what happened in the respective matches on a busy Saturday:
KCCA settle for a point
At a time of the season when the competition is getting tighter, Mike Mutebi's side travelled to the Champions Stadium in Mwererwe keen on consolidating their position at the top of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League table with nothing short of a win.
But a 12th meeting of these two sides saw the Kasasiro Boys, last season's runners-up, settle for a share of the spoils, having won three of their previous four games of the campaign.
With Allan Okello and Patrick leading the front line, the visitors failed to break the Bright Stars defence attack after attack, and at the end of 90, KCCA took a point that helps them open up a four-point gap at the summit.
The reverse fixture back in October at Lugogo ended 2-0 in favour of KCCA and Saturday's result means that Matugga-based Bright Stars have yet to beat the 12-time league champions.
They have now drawn five and lost four of their last eight games, which is their worst run as far as this season is concerned, after winning five of their opening nine matches.
So far, KCCA have lost only once in this campaign (3-2 against Express FC in December), and twice in all competitions - the other defeat (3-0) coming against Congo Brazzaville side Otoho d'Oyo in the CAF Confederation Cup playoffs.
Vipers taste first defeat of campaign
Holders Vipers SC have had their fair share of defeats this season.
But that has been in continental engagements, which has seen the Kitende-based side dumped out of the CAF Champions League and then the CAF Confederation Cup in the same season.
But the Venoms had not yet been beaten in the premier league this campaign - and they were the only side yet to taste defeat - until Saturday, when the script changed. SC Villa, thanks an impressive away showing, are the first team to beat Michael Nam Ouma's side.
It was not the dream start new signing Abdul Karim Nizigiyimana had hoped for, following his inclusion to the starting lineup only days after joining Vipers from Kenyan giants Gor Mahia.
The Burundi national team captain, a defender, signed a two-year renewable deal with the Venoms and was Saturday named as a starter against Villa. But he was very close to the action - in fact, in it - that he witnessed his side trail only 10 minutes into the game when Charles Lwanga poked in from a Pius Wangi cross.
Wangi then headed the visitors further in front in the 16th minute to put Villa in control.
Keen to claw back into the game, Vipers pulled one back six minutes before the break through Tito Okello, but Joseph Ssemujju restored Villa's two-goal lead with a fierce header five minutes into the second half.
Ouma introduced Hamis Kiiza in place of goalscorer Okello in the 54th minute to offer more influence in the attack, but the reforms could not change the home side's fate.
Vipers have now lost one and won (two) as many games as they have drawn in their last five games. Before Saturday, all the four games Vipers had lost this season had been in continental assignments.
It was sweet revenge for Villa, having lost 3-1 in the reverse fixture. And just like Vipers, they have now won once, drawn two and lost two of their last five fixtures.
It is a third win for Villa in a season peppered with nine draws and six defeats.
Onduparaka's struggles continue
Onduparaka FC have not won a game since beating Police FC 2-1 in December last year.
And the Caterpillars' dip in form continued against Kirinya-Jinja SSS, with a third draw in a winless five-game run. Overall, the West Nile side have registered seven wins, five draws and six defeats.
Having beaten Kirinya 3-0 in October, in the reverse fixture, Onduparaka were favoured to take this one too, considering they were on home turf.
But they were frustrated by a side whose last win had come in December - 1-0 away at Paidha Black Angels FC. It is not a cute register for Kirinya either. They have won four, drawn nine and lost five games so far.
Tooro win it late
For Tooro United FC, the saying that it is not over until it is - actually - over makes a lot more sense following Satruday's game.
After 90 minutes producing no goal against Paidha Black Angels FC, with the game destined for a balanced result, the breakthrough came deep in stoppage time to give the hosts three points. The reverse fixture in the first half of season ended goalless.
In a good spell of form, Tooro United have now won four of their last five games - altogether, the Fort Portal side have won seven, drawn six and lost five games this season.
They have not lost a game this year, with defeat last coming in December against Mbarara City FC (1-0). In sharp constrast, Paidha Black Angels, have drawn their last five games after a run of eight straight defeats. Their last defeat was against KCCA (3-0).
Police on the roll
This match was delayed by 30 minutes, but once it got underway, Police FC, the hosts against Ndejje University, were on the front foot. But they had to wait for a long time to go in front, with their lead coming at the death of the opening half.
That would eventually be the only goal of the game.
Incidentally, the Cops' first win of the season, which came on matchday four, was against Ndejje (2-1). And after a lethargic start to the campaign (losing their opening three games), the Police went on an unbeaten six-game run, including four victories.
Police have now won twice, drawn once and lost twice in their last five games. Overall, they have won seven, drawn three and lost seven, with their last defeat a 4-1 home result against lowly Nyamityobora FC towards the end of January.
Meanwhile, struggling Ndejje have now been beaten 12 times this campaign, as many times as fellow relegation side Nyamityobora.
They have lost nine and drawn four of their last 13 games, having last won in October (1-0 against Paidha Black Angels).