Onduparaka FC came from a goal behind to equalise in their own backyard at the AbaBet Greenlight Stadium and managed to salvage a point off UPDF FC in one of the opening day fixtures of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League.
The visitors drew first blood through Ivan Ahimbisibwe in the 27th minute, in what seemed like a cagey affair-at least going by how the game commenced before Rashid Agau leveled matters for the Caterpillars with three minutes to the hour mark.
Mohammad Shaban, who is skipper at the West Nile side was making his second debut just like his counterpart Rashid Agau. Shaban experienced a failed adventure with Kitende side Vipers SC.
The Caterpillars entertained four other debutants on the starting roster while UPDF new coach Brian Ssenyondo assembled a number of new signings to kickstart his campaign.
It took 15 minutes for Abasi Katerega to deliver a good free-kick from the far left only for Shaban to witness his volley miss the target.
Five minutes later, the visitors also came close but Ivan Okello’s timely header denied Kyeyune a clear attempt at goal.
It was shortly after the miss that the Caterpillars were forced into an early substitution that saw Ramathan Dudu get replaced by Allan Busobozi in the 32nd minute.
Ahimbisibwe scored for the away side in the 27th minute, who were good value for their goal thanks to constant press on the opposition goal. That was the biggest highlight of the first half.
Agau levelled matters after 57 minutes to get the home side back into the game, befittingly given the kind of instant and rapid approach George William Lutalo’s team gave the second half.
A few minutes later, Agau had managed to break loose on the flanks to setup Shaban who found Okocha isolated with the opposition goalkeeper Brian Bwete thus releasing the last shot but was disappointed to see his shot hit the side net.
That more or less climaxed the game as a statement and ensured that the West Nile side ascended to the third position on the log behind both Mbarara City and Arua Hill who seat first and second following their wins against Solitilo Bright Stars and Express FC respectively.
How both teams lined up
Onduparaka: Emmanuel Opolot, Gasper Adriko, Rashid Okocha, Ivan Okello, Isaac Okello, Abasi Kateregga, Gabriel Matata, Allan Busobozi, Muhammad Shaban (C), Emmanuel Okech and Rashid Agau.
Subs: Michael Kagiri, Rashid Yakin, Ramathan Dudu, Hamza Geriga, Martin Aniku Oso and Gibson Adinho.
UPDF: Brian Bwete, James Begisa, Bernard Muwanga, Dennis Ssekitoleko, Simon Mbaziira, Donato Okello, Ibrahim Wammanah, Musa Mudde, Meddy Kyeyune, Ivan Ahimbisibwe and Rodgers Mugisha.
Subs: Charles Sebutinde, Shaban Wasswa, Salim Huid, Ambrose Kigozi, Douglas Oyirwoth, Aggrey Kiirya and Frank Yiga.