URA 2 Chuoni 2
Clove Stars vs URA, 2pm
Chuoni vs Mbeya City, 4pm
In a very entertaining match, URA FC and Chuoni FC settled for a 2-2 draw in the Mapinduzi Cup this evening during their Group A opening tie at Gombani Stadium.
Two first half goals from the home side that is a stone throw away in Ugunja Island, ensured the host were in driving seat, but strikes from Erias Ssekisambu and an Owen Kasule free kick earned both sides a draw.
“This is an opportunity to check ourselves. Maybe we were overconfident. Now we know we are beatable,” assistant coach Ibrahim Kiirya told urafc.ug after the game.
In a match that seemed going towards a Chuoni win, then turned around to look like it was going to be a win for URA, but in the end a draw was the final result. The first ten minutes witnessed an organised URA side creating most of the chances.
Feni Ali was very close to scoring the match opener in both the 6rd and 13th minute but both shots went inches away from the posts. His wastefulness was punished with an Adam Halimadi strike.
Winger Elkanah Nkugwa collided with Erisa Ssekisambu in the opponents half; the resulting counter caught Jonathan Mugabi on the wrong side and Halimadi beat goal keeper Brian Bwete to score in an empty net.
Chuoni almost added the second when Halimadi was brought down in the box in the 24th, but the referee was not interested. In the 29th minute, Chuoni almost got another goal but the falg was already up for offside.
With three minutes to play, Ssekisambu gave URA the equaliser with an fine assist from Nkugwa on the left and now the tide changed as Nsumba hit the cross bar with his left foot shot and Ssekisambu missing the rebounder.
It was not over as Chuoni missed another great chance with goal keeper Bwete beate and Musa Docca cleared off the line, but the referee awarded a penalty for an infringement on Halimadi. Shaban Mwoka scored from the spot to give Chuoni a moraleboosting 2-1 halftime lead.
In the second half, URA started getting involved more than in the first half. Docca was ruled offside with a header in the 49th minute.
Coach Paul Nkata made a tactical substitution bringing on speedy winger James Kasibante for impressive Nkugwa but two double-legged charges on Augustine Nsumba, who had a silent role yielded the fruits.
In the 58th minute, he was fouled near the box and Owen scored with a high shot on the left to give URA the leveller. Nkata withdrew Nsumba for Martin Kivumbi, and he proved a hot property on the right with wide plays, but chances were far and few.
Kasule got another opportunity to give URA maximum points in the 78th minute, but his header was cleared oiff the line as the home side also continued attacking with Bwete the saviour. Ssekisambu was withdrawn for Emmanuel Ngama in the 77th minute and his impact of fresh legs added more pressure. He even missed a header off a Kivumbi cross in the 86th minute.
In a tournament where six substitute players are allowed, Ilic Milos was introduced for Kasule, but with just a minute to finish normal time, right full back Martin Opolot made a careless challenge near the box with Bwete saving the resulting free kick.
“We did not use our chances well. Let’s see what we can improve in our next game,” coach Nkata said.
URA FC will be in action again on Saturday at 2pm against home side Pemba Clove Stars. With all Group A games ending in draws; the opening game between Mbeya City and Cloves finished 1-1 on Wednesday, all sides have a point after the first round of games.
Meanwhile, another Ugandan side in the competition KCCA FC, will return to action on Friday against Simba of Tanzania.
Elsewhere, Uganda Cranes strike Brian Umony scored once as defending champions Azam beat Spice Stars 2-1 in Zanzibar.