Uganda’s representatives in the CAF Champions League Qualifier Vipers SC Vipers played a goalless draw with TP Mazembe in their first leg tie in the second preliminary round at St Mary’s stadium in Kitende on Sunday.
Vipers failed to use their home advantage over the five-time African champions while their opponents secured an away point, which is pivotal in the double-legged affair.
The visitors seemed good from the opening minute using their experience in continental football. Zemanga Soze and Ngalamulume Bato Merceil Ngimbi dominated the midfield where Vipers had two defensive midfielders but failed to create tangible chances.
Their first opportunity on the goal came sixteen minutes later when Wilfrid Nkaya had a strong short on goal but Vipers custodian Alfred Mudekereza was equal to the challenge and saved the hosts from conceding an early goal.
The visitors continued pushing but failed to break Vipers defense, which was commanded by Murushid Juuko who had several interceptions.
Before the end of the opening half, TP Mazembe had a forced substitute when their goalkeeper went off limping.
At the beginning of the second half, Vipers had a chance to break the deadlock but midfielder Isa Mubiru missed a free header. The two sides barely created chances in the final half and hence making a 0-0 full-time report.
TP Mazembe Head coach Frabk Dumas told journalists that he was happy after getting a point in an away fixture. “It was a good game, and I happy about the level of the game, in champions league there is no easy game and that is what has happened but let us wait for the return leg,” he said.
Speaking to URN after the match, Vipers SC Head Coach Roberto Oliviera, said he is happy with the performance of his team despite failing to secure maximum points.
Nevertheless he said this will not stop them from pursuing their target of qualifying for their maiden Champions’ league group stages.
The two teams will now meet in the return leg of this fixture in a week’s time in Lubumbashi. The winner on aggregate will qualify for the rewarding champions league group stages.
Vipers have never reached group stages in their lifetime and are bidding to break the jinx while TP Mazembe has been qualifying for the group stages casually.
Should Vipers qualify for the Champions League group stages, they will become the second club from Uganda to reach that level after Kampala Capital City Authority- KCCA FC in 2018. But if the Venoms fail the Mazembe hurdle, they will drop to the CAF Confederation Cup playoff round.