In a thrilling encounter at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende, Vipers SC managed to secure a point in their CAF Champions League group C clash against Raja Casablanca.
Despite coming into the game at the bottom of the table with just one point, Vipers put on an improved display from their first encounter against Raja, where they suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat in Morocco.
Vipers started positively, winning the first corner of the game and two free kicks before the 10-minute mark.
However, it was Raja who took the lead in the 18th minute when Suofiane Benjdida slotted in a volley from a left flank pass in the final third.
Nevertheless, Vipers fought back and managed to level the score with their first goal of the tournament, right on the stroke of added time in the first half.
Abubaker Lawal made a sliding tap in on the right post off Isa Mubiru’s pass to bring the home crowd to their feet.
The second half saw Vipers continue their impressive display, creating several opportunities to take the lead.
Abubakar Lawal hit the post after being well found by Bright Anukani, while Ashraf Mandela’s effort was dragged wide after seizing on Anukani’s sloppy touch.
The Venoms were inches away from taking the lead on multiple occasions, but it just wasn’t their day.
The game eventually ended in a 1-1 draw, with Vipers taking a deserved point from the match.
Although it was too late for Vipers to progress to the next stage of the competition, it was a positive performance for the Ugandan side, especially considering they were playing against a strong Raja Casablanca side.
Raja Casablanca Coach Mondher Keibaier expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance despite facing a slippery turf.
He stated, “It gave us a hard time, but I am happy with the way the boys played. We rested some players because we have lots of matches ahead.”
On the other hand, Isabirye Musongola, the Vipers Coach, expressed contentment with his team’s display against a continental giant.
He praised their efforts and voiced confidence in their continuous improvement, saying, “I am happy with the way we played against a continental giant. We did a good job, and I am confident that the team will improve.”
In other group C action, Simba SC beat Horoya AC 7-0 at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium to progress to the next stage of the competition as the second-best team in the group, with Raja topping the group with 13 points.
While today’s action is a setback for both Vipers and Horoya, who currently sit at the bottom half of the table with two and four points, respectively, it is important to note that both teams still have one more game left to play, though it won’t have much impact on the standings.
Vipers may have been disappointed with the result but they can take pride in their impressive display and use it as motivation for their future matches under new Head Coach Alex Isabirye Musongola.