August 8, 2022

Vipers had a strategy that paid off – Espinoza

By Clive Kyazze

Vipers Sports Club advanced to the first round stage of the 2018/2019 Total CAF Champions League after they eliminated El Merriekh on Wednesday at St Marys Stadium Kitende.

Abraham Ndugwa scored the all important goal two minutes into the second stanza of the game to defeat El Merriekh 1-0 which put the game aggregate at 2-2 and eventually Vipers advancing on away goals rule.

Vipers Captain Taddeo Lwanga applauds the fans after the final whistle | courtesy photo

Vipers’ coach Javier Espinoza believes it’s their game strategy that worked out well like they had expected it would.

“This is champions league we need a strategy, we had a strategy today and it helped us accomplish the job,” Espinoza said in the post match press conference.

Pushed to elaborate more on the strategy, Espinoza noted; “We analyzed everything from Sudan and we realised the need to be a little more intelligent with our approach.”

“We weren’t looking for big scores, we just wanted to win the game, be disciplined defensively and cautious in attack until we get the result and it worked for us,”  Espinoza added.

The fans turned up in huge numbers to cheer their side | Vipers SC photo

Questions whether Espinoza knows his players well continued to arise especially since he continued to play Tito Okello, Davies Kasirye (he came on for Moses Waisswa) and Noah Wafula (came on for Abraham Nduggwa) out of their natural positions.

“Wafula and Kasirye didn’t come on to attack but to help in defense and that worked for us,” the Mexican noted.

In the first round fixture, Vipers will play Constantine of Algeria who defeated Gamtel of Gambia 1-0 on aggregate with the winner advancing to the group stages of the competition. Espinoza believes they have a big chance if they do their homework.

“We will try to get a good result away, we will try to score away but also take time and study our next opponent and we have the time to do that.”

The loser of that tie will drop to the playoff stage of the 2018/2019 Total CAF Confederation Cup.

It was the first time Vipers were advancing to this stage in the competition on their second time of asking. They lost to 2004 winners Enyimba of Nigeria 4-1 on aggregate.

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