Midfielder Daniel Shabena dramatic stoppage time strike earned Express FC their first win of the season as they edged Mbarara City FC 3-2 at the Prison Grounds, Luzira.
The spotlight was on George Ssemwogerere and his team prior to the game, as his team were yet to pick up a win this season and were disappointing in their last game against Onduparaka.
Chants from the fans for his sacking rang around Muteesa II stadium for the second time in the seven times he has been in-charge at the club.
Failure to win against Mbarara, could spur renewed calls for his head and could shoot tension through the roof as they face a visit from arch rivals SC Villa next.
The red eagles knew what was at stake, and dominated the game from the on-set. They were presented with a couple of chances to break the deadlock, but Mbarara’s keeper Muhammad Ssekeba was equal to the tasks.
Frank Kalanda, Nsubuga Hamdan and Frank Ssenyondo had opportunities of putting the visitors in front inside the opening half hour but failed.
There were some nervous moments from their hosts as well, Brian Ahebwa and Ivan Eyam threatened for Mbarara but Express custodian Joshua Adea was alert to tame all the threats.
Against the run of play, Express defender Martin Kiiza brought down Eyam at the edge of the area. Ankole lions skipper Hilary Mukundane stepped up to score via a huge deflection off Cyrus Kibande in the 43rd minute.
Man-of-the-match: Disan Galiwango
Mbarara’s lead was short lived, as the six-time league champions levelled the
score at the stroke of half time. Hamdan Nsubuga capitalized from a loose ball after
Ssekeba’s poor punch from a Disan Galiwango corner.
After recess, the Red Eagles returned in high gear with diminutive winger Frank Ssenyondo causing havoc down the flanks with his flair and trickery. Mukundane paid the price with a yellow card after illegally stopping him.
In the 62nd minute, Lawrence Kigonya should have put Express ahead but missed the target with the goal at his mercy, after Kalanda’s free kick was spilled by Ssekeba.
Kalanda took matters into his own hands, putting the red eagles into the lead for the first time in the match. A brilliant solo run down the wing and cut-back from Disan Galiwango, found Kalanda unmarked in the penalty area, for the striker to easily home.
The Ankole Lion’s made some changes with Jude Ssemugabi and Wol Makweth
coming on for Ahebwa and Eyam and so did Express with Joshua Musoke and Idris
Kabonge come on for Nsubuga and Kalanda respectively.
With nine minutes to stoppage time, substitute Ssemugabi levelled matters for the Ankole Lions with a fabulous shot from distance.
The game was far from serving us with drama. Galiwango’s long range effort
was parried into the path of Shabena by custodian Ssekeba. The former pounced
to score into an empty net, to grab Express’ third deep into extra time.
The result took Express to four points with old time rivals SC Villa next on their radar while Mbarara City remained on four points with an away fixture against Vipers SC to come next.