Kampala: There was plenty of drama on the final day of the 2017/18 Uganda Premier League season with all matches played at the same time at the different grounds.
No club had been confirmed relegated and the title wasn’t decided so this had to be settled on the final day.
Five clubs; Masavu, Express, Proline, UPDF and Soana all faced relegation while the title was to be decided between SC Vipers and KCCA FC.
All what Vipers needed was a win against UPDF in Kitende to win the title for the first time since 2015. A draw would also seal the championship for them if KCCA drew or lost against Police. UPDF needed a win to survive relegation.
In the 23rd minute, UPDF took the lead after an error from Vipers’ goalkeeper Ismael watenga for Joseph Janjali to tap it into an empty net.
Heartbreak for UPDF in the 40th minute when Julius Kisambira was shown a red card for an horrendous tackle on Duncan Seninde. UPDF were reduced to ten men, giving Vipers the advantage.
Vipers responded quickly to the offer as Yayo Lutimba equalized from Erisa Ssekisambu’s cross at the stroke of halftime. Half time ended 1-1.
In the 63rd minute, UPDF’s Othieno Deo deliberately hand-balled in the box and Erisa Ssekusambi stepped up to convert the penalty making it 2-1 to the hosts. The Venoms closed in on the title which meant UPDF’s relegation.
Daniel Mzee Sserunkuuma then scored the third after an Othieno defensive error in the 84th minute to extend the lead for Miguel Da Costa’s men.
Pius Wanji scored the fourth goal in added time putting the final nail in the coffin for UPDF and celebrations around St. Mary’s stadium began.
Vipers sealed their third title in Uganda’s top flight football, adding on those won in 2010 and 2015.
KCCA suffered a dramatic collapse after taking the lead in the 26th minute with a goal from Allan Okello before Norman Ojik leveled matters for hosts Uganda Police four minutes later. Ojik added the second and the first half ended 2-1 in favour of Police.
Patrick Kaddu equalized for the Kasasiro boys with 10 minutes from time making it 2-2 but it was late for a comeback.
Express FC beat the odds and survived relegation after their hard-fought win against Masavu away in Bugango after a horrible season.
Alfred Leku’s strike in the 55th minute was enough for Uganda’s oldest football club to secure safety. It means the Red Eagles have never been relegated to the second-tier in the history of Ugandan football.
Masavu’s defeat confirmed their relegation after just one season in the Uganda Premier League.
Proline lost 2-1 at home to Uganda Revenue Authority which means the will be playing in the FUFA Big League next season.
Daniel Isiagi opened the scoring for Proline in the 39th minute but URA made a late comeback to deny the hosts three points. Kigongo Ronald equalised in the 64 minute and Shafiq Kagimu scored the winner in the 86 minute for the tax collectors.
A goalless draw for Soana against Maroons at Kavumba Recreational Ground was enough for their survival because Proline failed to pick up maximum points.
The promoted clubs; Paidha Black Angels, Ndejje University and Nyamityobora replace Masavu, UPDF and Proline in next season’s Uganda Premier League season.
Final Matchday Results
Soana 0-0 Maroons, Kavumba Recreational Stadium
Masavu 0-1 Express, Fisheries Training Institute, Bugonga
Mbarara City 0-2 Kirinya-Jinja S.S, Kakyeka Stadium, Mbarara
Proline 1-2 URA, Star Times Stadium Lugogo
Police 2-2 KCCA, Mandela National Stadium, Namboole
SC Villa Jogoo 0-1 BUL, Masaka Recreational Stadium, Masaka
Onduparaka 2-0 Bright Stars, Green Light Stadium, Arua
Vipers 4-1 UPDF, St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende