Steven Mukwala’s first half brace engineered URA FC’s narrow 2-1 victory against Ethiopia Coffee on their CAF Confederation Cup return at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Sunday evening.
Mukwala’s first was a well constructed goal, clinically finishing Viane Ssekajugo’s headed pass off Derrick Ndahiro’s brilliant cross after 23 minutes.
His second, on 37 minutes was a thing of beauty. He instinctively latched on a rebound at the edge of the box to bend a powerful shot in the top right corner.
The goals came off an entertaining opening half from the Ugandan side, but, the second stanza, particularly the opening 15 minutes were the absolute opposite.
Coffee came back for the final half more ruthless, probing from every angle and keeping much of their action in the opposite half.
In the 55th minute, William Solomon Tesfay dribbled past the URA defence before shooting past a helpless Alionzi Nathian to make it 2-1.
At 65 minutes, the tax collectors introduced lightning-quick Joachim Ojera for skipper Shafik Kagimu to revive their attacking prowess but did not have a notable impact.
Instead, the visitors nearly equalized at 82 minutes but Asrat Tonjo’s powerful shot was brilliantly blocked by Hudu Mulikyi to save the day.
At the death, Ojera wasted a huge opportunity to stretch the lead, poorly deciding against shooting to pick Mukwala, only for a Coffe defender to make a timely interception.
The last time URA featured on the continent was in 2015 but failed to progress beyond the first round, falling 4-3 on aggregate to South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the same competition.
The reverse fixture will take centre stage on Saturday, September 19th, 2021 at the Bahir-Dar international stadium, with Coffee only 1-0 away from progress.
The winner over the two legs will face Egyptian outfit Al-Masry who got a cleaner and smooth passage for the first round.
How they lined up
URA: Alionzi Nathian (GK), Ashiraf Mandela, Derrick Ndahiro, Hudu Mulikyi, Najib Fesali, Paul Baker Mbowa, Saidi Kyeyune, Shafik Kagimu (C), Steven Mukwala, Vianne Ssekajugo, Cromwell Rwothomio
Substitutions: Joachim Ojera, Ivan Sserubiri, Kabon Living, Mikidadi Ssenyonga, Ronald Kigongo, Ibrahim Dada, James Alitho, Faru Gabretinsale
Coffee: Abel Mamo, Abebe Feyisa, Dereje Shiferaw, Tefese Solomon, Mekeyas Mekonon, Amanuel Yohanes(c), Abubaker Nasir, Asrat Tonjo, William Solomon Tesfay, Endale Yalew, Haille Gabretinsale
Substitutions: Abel Endale Gizaw, Bereket Amare, Robel Bahta, Yaebkal Amare, Tediros Meta