Express FC and Bright Stars both kept alive their hopes for silverware this season, the first ever in the latter’s club history.
Both sides played out to a 1-1 draw in the Stanbic Uganda Cup first leg semifinal game in Mwerwerwe on Sunday afternoon.
“It was great fight from my boys, even if the pitch was not favorable the team played well, the tempo was high but I disagree with the penalty, I thought it was a soft decision,” Express coach George Ssimwogerere told www.football-256.com after the game.
Eleven minutes into the game, Express posed a threat, left back Disan Galiwango broke all clear and could have assisted striker Brian Umony but chose to shoot, Bright Stars custodiam Hamza Muwonge was alert.
The hosts through left back Sam Sekito almost made amends if it wasn’t for Pius Mbidde’s deflection in the 19th minute.
The visitors in the 33rd minute could have gone into the break with a lead but Umony wasn’t as sharp, his shot was calmly collected by Hamza Muwonge.
After the break, Express seemed recharged throwing the kitchen sink at the hosts, five minutes after restart, Michael Birungi headed home a freekick won by Umony who was fouled challenging for the ball in the air.
The celebrations were short lived, two minutes later Shafick Kakeeto was judged to have handled the ball in the forbidden area.
Express players protested the decision but referee Asadu Ssemere stuck to his guns, Nelson Ssenkatuka stepped up and levelled matters.
The game would be interrupted for close to eight minutes, a nasty tackle by Andrew Kaggwa on Express defender Arthur Kiggundu, the latter requiring treatment amidst a mele that ensued on and off the pitch. Andrew Kaggwa was then sent for an early shower.
“It was a good game save for the sendoff, we played 10 men for a long time but we saw it out. The boys fought hard even after conceding, we are now looking forward to the return leg,” Bright Stars assistant coach Paul Kiwanuka said after the game.
Three minutes later, Umony was unlucky not to give Express the lead, Hamza Muwonge saved the situation again. Both sides couldn’t hurt a fly in the final stages of the game with tired legs all over. The return leg will take place on the 9th Of May at Wankulukuku.