The clash of the top two sides in the Premier League ends in a goalless draw at St. Mary's Stadium, Kitende to keep the title race open.
STARTIMES UGANDA PREMIER LEAGUE
Vipers 0-0 KCCA
Busoga 3-0 URA
Police 1-2 Bright Stars
Wakiso 2-1 Maroons
KITENDE - For the eighth time in Uganda Premier League history, the Vipers-and-KCCA duel has ended in a draw, after the top two sides of this campaign shared the spoils at St. Mary's Stadium on Tuesday.
After that result, a five-point gulf still separates the leading sides, with eight games left to wrap up the season. Vipers are now on 50 points and KCCA on 45 points.
On a 30th league meeting of the two sides, both ends of the St. Mary's turf bore witness to episodes featuring chances at goal, but the opposite goal keepers, Fabien Mutombora (Vipers) and Charles Lukwago (KCCA), were in fine form.
For some attacks though, it was the lack of precision on the part of the forwards that accounted for the two zeroes on the scoresheet.
Most of the credit still goes to the goalstoppers for keeping at bay threat after threat to ensure that yet another draw was the outcome.
The hosts, who are leading the table, will particularly feel more disappointed by the result after seeing goal-bound efforts kept out by KCCA skipper-keeper Lukwago, who twice had to tip Geoffrey Wasswa's curled strikes over the bar.
But for all his attempts, Wasswa still found himself going into the referee's book for bundling the industrious Erisa Ssekisambu on the other end minutes before half time.
The sentiment of dropping two points aside, Vipers will have felt a huge stab in their side after seeing one of their key players, Tito Okello, stretchered off the pitch in the 20th minute.
The injured former KCCA man's game was premature and he had to be replaced by Allan Kayiwa, with more than an hour still to play. The extent of Okello's injury is not known yet, but his swift recovery will be all that Vipers want.
Muzamiru Mutyaba was one of those players that tested Mutombora, but the Burundian keeper would not let any ball slip through. In fact, it is his safe gloves that have part helped Vipers concede the lowest number of goals (12) so far this season. Only Villa (18) and URA (18) are rivalling this statistic.
The last time Vipers and KCCA played out a draw in the league was in the 2018/19 season, when both ties ended 1-1.
This time round, Mike Mutebi's KCCA had hoped to complete a league double over their closest challengers after beating the Venoms 1-0 in the first round at Lugogo. But Fred Kajoba's men were no pushovers, and provided enough evidence to back their current position at the dizzying summit of the log.
As a matter of fact, the result would have gone in their favour, had it not been a combination of Lukwago's acrobatism and Vipers' attackers' failure to realign their efforts to within the goal posts.
Bobosi Byaruhanga provided enough threat to trouble the KCCA goal stopper. His opposite, Mutombora, too was often called to action throughout the game and had to deny Sadam Juma on the other end five minutes to the end.
Eventually, the drama at St. Mary's ended with the dust settling over a 0-0 result. A point gained or two dropped? That depends on where your loyalties are.
For now, the title race remains a two-horse affair and by the time we get to May, we should have had a clearer picture of the destiny of the title. What is certain at the moment is that it is either headed for Kitende or it is remaining at Lugogo.
Can Vipers stay on course for a fourth league title or will KCCA, hot on their heels, do enough to retain the top honours?
St. Mary's Stadium, Kitende was the host ground of Tuesday's much-anticipated clash.
The home fans came out in large numbers.
The rivals fans also appeared in a sizeable number at Kitende.
Here is how Vipers started:
Mutombora, Wafula, Wasswa, Asiku, Halid (C), Ssenfuka, Ssentamu, Bobosi, Karisa, Tito, Bayo
KCCA's starting lineup was like so:
Lukwago (C), Musa, Obenchan, Magambo, Gift Ali, Kezironi, Mutyaba, Kizza, Aliro, Ssekisambu, Mike Mutyaba
It was a sweltering Tuesday as the action unfolded. Eventually, it would end goalless, with both sides sharing the spoils.