By: Danito Nsubuga
It was as tense as the word itself at Masaka recreation grounds when SC Villa hosted rivals Express FC in the Azam Uganda Premier league.
The game started on a low tempo with non of the sides committing to risk opening up.
Express coach Shafiq Bisaso made some changes to the team that lost to Police FC in the previous match, the most notable being the dropping of Captain David Ndihabwe .
The first half of the match produced very few moments to write home about and the only highlight was Daniel Mzee Serunkuuma’s shot that kissed the pole in the early stages of the game.
SC Villa’s half chances fell to the wasteful duo Godfrey Lwesibawa and Vitalis Tabu.
Enter the penultimate period, SC Villa expressed more desire to go for the jugular with the introduction of Yubu Bogere and Martin Kiiza for Vitalis Tabu and Mukasa Musa, signifying a switch in formation to a back 3.
Shafiq Bisaso introduced Michael Birungi for defender Promise Mkpene and the winger proved the more positive of the substitutions of the day.
By the 60th minute, teams began to open up and Sulaiman Jingo almost put Express in the lead with a superbly struck free kick but Samson Kirya stretched furthest to tip the ball over the bar.
10 minutes later the industrious Michael Birungi sent a left footed strike into Villa’s territory but the home team were saved by the woodwork with Samson Kirya already beaten.
In came the final substitution for SC Villa and it was Alex Kitata who came on for Godfrey Lwesibawa.
With the game destined for a stalemate, that man Kitata pounced on a lose ball that was poorly headed by Davis Mayanja into his path and he made no mistake but to squeeze the ball through the legs of an onrushing Godwin Buule.
Full time and SC Villa like how it was last season, have edged Express for the first leg of the fiercest derby in Ugandan football.
The win sends SC Villa to the top of the Uganda premier league with 23 points but contrastingly the result leaves Express lurking in the red zone of the table.