By Baron Kironde
It’s not yet over for Mbale Heroes in the Uganda Cup, even after losing to Proline at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo in the first leg on Sunday.
Two quick goals for Proline in the first half disorganized the Slaughterers throughout the first half, but the home side nearly lost it all in the second half.
Proline will take a 2-1 advantage when they visit Mbale next week, but the contest is still open heading into the return leg.
Mbale Heroes however have a lot to do at home, as they missed so many chances that could have eased their chances to the next stage.
Mbale Heroes’ Joel Ayala had his free kick rattle the cross bar early on moments before Noordin Bunjo converted from the spot to put the hosts ahead after defender Geofrey Lubangakene brought down Rogers Mato inside the area.
The Heroes’ fans for a minute protested, arguing that the winger went down quite so easily, the referee however insisted that while the touch was slight, it was just enough for a foul.
Defender Savio Kabugo doubled the lead only two minutes after, controlling and smoothly laying the ball beyond Heroes’ custodian Hatimu Hilbert who had come on for Bashir Ibrahim.
Joel Male came so close for Heroes towards the end of the first half, when he aimed to head in Ibrahim Kibumba’s cross but he was brought down by Kabugo in the box and the referee waved play on.
Brian Olega and Luka Okori came on for Vincent Owundo and Joel Male at the start of the second half in an attempt by Mbale Heroes to play with more pace on their wings. Joshua Opima later on in the game came on for Edmond Wamboka.
Olega made an immediate impact as he linked up with Bosco Munyolo to set up Kibumba whose beautiful lay off into the box went begging.
Olega’s presence was felt throughout the second half as the visitors looked like they were going to score any minute, playing with more pace on the right flank.
And the goal finally came through captain Jamal Buchochera who nodded in a deep cross from Olega with 20 minutes to play.
Ivan Ocholit came on for Gerald Kirya to put more pressure on the visitors. He didn’t disappoint with his staggering runs from across the right and left flanks.
Alpha Thierry Ssali came on for Brian Umony towards the end of the game, but he was kept at bay by the Heroes defenders and did not do so much on the day except a few unproductive dribbles.
How the teams lined up
Proline FC XI; Magola Shatif, Mato Brian, Kabugo Savio, Sendi Ibrahim, Sula Sekamwa, Hamza Mulambuzi, Kirya Gerald, Bunjo Noordin (C), Kizza Hamisi, Brian Umony, Mato Rodgers.
Subs; Sebwato Nicholas, Ssali Alpha Thierry, Ocholit Ivan, Ramathan Juma, Kugonza Norman.
Mbale Heroes XI; Bashir Ibrahim, Kibumba Ibrahim, Ayala Joel, Lubangakene Geoffrey, Jamaldine Buchochera, Kiberu Faisal, Owundo Vincent, Male Joel, Wamboka Edmond, Munyolo Bosco, Ronald Magwali.
Subs; Hatimu Hilbert, Kapyo Alex, Jakon Daniel, Mayanja Davis, Otai Peter, Okori Luka, Opima Joshua, Olega Brian.