By: Sinan Rajub Senoga
Express FC produced arguably their best performance of the 2017-2018 UPL season with a 4-0 home mauling of Soana FC to spring hope of relegation survival. It was such a statement of intent in front of the solicitude Red Army, and surely if such display is replicated in the course of remaining nine games, topflight status will be guaranteed.
Jalil Zimula opened up the scoring in the 14th minute with a calm left footed finish from 12 yards beating a forest of Soana defenders that were covering up for their goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa who had gone away from the goal mouth.
5 minutes later, the Red Eagles doubled the lead when Joseph Semujju won possession at the center line to send a fine pass to Michael Birungi who looped the ball over the fast approaching Soana custodian from few inches outside the box sending the Wankulukuku crowd into frenzy.
The resumption of the second half of the game witnessed Soana threatening Express’ two goal cushion with relentless attacks aware of what befell the hosts in their previous match against Police at Namboole. However, their pursuit for a breakthrough was futile as it called for a high tactical discipline and calmness from Express masterminded by the new man at the bench, George Best Nsimbe.
At the hour mark, Michael Birungi further stretched the lead when he scored his second and Express’ third of the day as he flawlessly tapped home a well delivered cross from Jalilu Zimula.
Joseph Semujju and Davis Mayanja were subsequently withdrawn for Sharif Ochaya and Isaac Kisujju respectively in a bid to consolidate the hosts’ dominance.
Ayub Kisalita then put the icing on the cake with a close range finish capitalizing on a goal mouth scramble following a free kick from the right hand side in the 72nd minute.
Michael Birungi missed out on an opportunity to grab himself a hat trick after sustaining a thigh injury with 8 minutes to normal time and he was substituted for Billy Nkata, a graduate from the Under 18 team.
George Nsimbe masterclass
The pre-match talk of this fixture was dominated by the appointment of George Nsimbe as technical director yesterday to join forces with coach Shafic Bisaso to restore parity at the sinking Red Eagles ship. When the former KCCA FC, Tusker and Victors FC tactician was asked if he could steer the Red Eagles out relegation, his answer was hyperbolic and assured: “100%” He said.
Of course, the Soana drubbing is not the barometer for the remaining games but the manner in which the players played with vigour, commitment and hard work was a reflection of Nsimbe’s managerial acumen. It was evidenced when Birungi scored his second he wheeled-off to the dugout and hugged Nsimbe. It was his bold decision to drop novice goal keeper Tony Kyamera for experienced Godwin Buule.
The victory propels Express from the bottom but not beyond the red line. The 6-time champions now sit in 14th place after leapfrogging Proline and Masavu courtesy of a better goal difference. The result also leaves Soana 11th on the log with 24 points.
Next on card for Express will be a trip to Kitende immediately after the international break to face Vipers on Saturday, 31st March whereas Soana will welcome 8th placed BUL FC at Kavumba recreation grounds on the same date.
BUL 3-2 Police
Express 4-0 Soana
Bright Stars 0-0 Proline