Vipers FC Suffers Heavy Defeat in CAF Champions League Debut

Vipers SC, Uganda’s representatives in the CAF Champions League, suffered a devastating defeat in their debut in the Group C stage.  The team lost 5-0 to Raja Casablanca in a match played at Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca last night.

Due to an earlier punishment by CAF for their fans’ use of smoke bombs, firecrackers, and lasers, the match was played behind closed doors with only a few officials and journalists allowed in the stadium. 

Despite the quiet environment with no single fan cheering them on home soil, Raja dominated the play from the start, hunting for an early lead in the group. Vipers on the other hand seemed disoriented as several players majorly from the defence made blunders that the hosts capitalized on to punish them.

Raja, the three-time champions got their first goal in the 5th minute when Hamza Khabba dashed off a header outside the box that caught Vipers Custodian Alfred Mudekereza off the line. Six minutes later, Jamal Harkass doubled the hosts’ advantage with a rebound off a freekick which was first stopped by Mundekereza but caught Vipers defenders off guard.

Muhamed Zrida scored the third goal in the 38th minute when he met a minus from Yousri Bouzok from the right field play to command a 3-0 halftime lead. The fourth goal was scored by Yousri Bouzok in the 59th minute while Roger Aholou sealed the 5-0 victory with a goal in the 71st minute.

On the Vipers side, Martin Kiiza’s free-kick had given the team their best chance to score a consolation freekick in the 33rd minute, but it was brilliantly saved by Raja’s custodian Anas Zniti.  In the second half, Viper’s technical bench responded with three substitutions, as Karim Watambala, Abdu Lumala, and Ashraf Mandela made way for Yunus Sentamu Olivier, Osomba, and Ahmed Desire. However, this was not enough to stop the already-boosted Raja team.

The victory puts Raja on top of Group C with three points while Vipers drops to the bottom with no point and a negative of five goals.  The other teams in the group include Horoya from Guinea and Simba from Tanzania.

With only the top two teams advancing to the knockout round, Vipers Coach Beto Bianchi will have to make major changes ahead of their next match against Horoya AC at St. Mary’s Stadium in Kitende if they hope to progress to the knockout round. 

Vipers is the second Ugandan club to play in the lucrative CAF Champions League group stages after their counterparts KCCA FC did in 2018.

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