Uganda Premier League champions Express FC began their continental expedition with a 2-1 win over Sudanese giants Al Merrick in the first leg of the CAF Champions League preliminary round at the St.Mary’s Stadium in Kitende on Friday.
Eric Kambale and Martin Kizza strikes were enough to earn the Wasswa Bbosa coached side a first leg advantage over Al Merrick on their return to the competition.
They had last appeared at the 1994 edition.
Bakri Abd Elgadir scored the visitors only strike of the contest.
This is only the second Express FC victory over their counterparts in seven games. Before today’s encounter, the two sides had previously met six times with Al Merrick winning four against Express’ one and a stalemate.
Kambale fired the hosts into an early lead with a cool finish in the 6th minute of the contest.
Two minutes later, the visitors nearly levelled matters through Edjomariegwe Tony Omayarue but his header from a free kick went inches wide.
At the half hour mark, the Red Eagles nearly doubled their lead but Mahad Yaya Kakooza’s effort outside the box kissed the crossbar.
In the 38th minute, Elgadir brassed home from a well delivered corner kick to restore parity for the visitors.
The two sides went into the halftime breather with the scores level.
At the hour mark, Kizza calmly restored the home side’s lead off a brilliant assist from wingman Godfrey Lwesibawa.
Second half substitute Joseph Akandwanaho nearly extended the home side’s lead but his header off a Kizza quality cross went inches wide
with only twelve minutes to normal time.
Bbosa’s beleaguered troops held on to a vital 2-1 victory. The two sides will next face off on Friday 17th September for the return fixture in Sudan.
Joel Mutakubwa (G.K), Enock Walusimbi (Captain), Arthur Kiggundu, Isa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Daniel Shabena, Yaya Kakooza, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Martin Kizza, Erick Kambale
Denis Otim (G.K), Denis Mubuya, Joseph Akandwanaho, Charles Musiige, John Byamukama, Abel Eturude, George Senkaaba, John Byamukama
Al Merrikh XI:
Salman Monged Elneel Abuzaid (G.K), Ahmed Ahmed, Suliman Amir Kamal, Ahmed Mohamed, Mahmoud Nemer Salaheldin, Musa Mahjoub Dhiya, Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Idris, Elsamani Saadelin, Hussein Nooh Al-Gozoli, Bakri Abd Elgadir, Tony Edjomariegwe Omayarue
Subs: Mohamed Mustafa Mohamed (G.K), Mohamed Alrashed Mahamoud, Wagdi Awad Abd Alla, Ahmed Hamed Mahmoud, Tajeldin Elnour Badawi, Ahmed Yousif, Abd Elrahman Esihag Hassan