The teams will clash once again on September 17 to determine who progresses to the second preliminary round
Uganda’s Caf Champions League ambassadors Express FC took a 2-1 first-leg victory against Al Merreikh of Sudan in a match played at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.
Erick Kambale and Martin Kizza scored for the Ugandan Premier League winners, while Bakri Elgadir found the back of the net in favour of the visitors.
Although the Red Eagles started the game slowly, they registered an opener in the sixth minute when Kambale – with an assist from Kizza – managed to beat Al Merreikh’s goalkeeper, Monged Abuzaid, at close range.
The visitors won a free kick in the seventh minute, Express stopped them and launched a counter-attack, but Godfrey Lwesibawa was flagged down after he was caught in an off-side position as he was about to enter the 18-yard box.
Another counter-attack by Express came in the 26th minute as Muzamiru Mutyaba and Kizza led the forward move. Mutyaba tried to find Kizza with a final cross but the latter could not connect with the ball which went out.
A persistent Al Merreikh restored parity in the 38th minute when Elgadir headed home after they had won a corner that was delivered by Tony Omayarue.
Express made a change in the 55th minute as George Senkaaba came on for Muzamiru Mutyaba, and four minutes later, they restored the lead when Kizza struck home with the assist coming from Lwesibawa.
Al Merreikh’s Mohamed Mahmoud and Ahmed Mahmoud came on for Hashim Mohamed and Mahmoud Salaheldin in the 70th minute before Express’ Joseph Akandwanaho replaced Lwesibawa.
Al Merreikh’s further changes came in the 82nd minute – when Tajeldin Badawi replaced Ahmed Ahmed while Abd Elrahman came on for Omayarue – but they could not help much as Express defended hard and finally emerged as the winners of the first leg.
Express XI: Joel Mutakubwa, Enock Walusimbi, Arthur Kiggundu, Isa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Daniel Shabena, Yaya Kakooza, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Martin Kizza, Erick Kambale.
Subs: Denis Otim, Denis Mubuya, Joseph Akandwanaho, Charles Musiige, John Byamukama, Abel Eturude, George Senkaaba, John Byamukama.
Al Merrikh XI: Salman Monged, Ahmed Ahmed, Suliman Amir, Ahmed Mohamed, Mahmoud Salaheldin, Musa Mahjoub, Mohamed Idris, Elsamani Saadelin, Hussein Al-Gozoli, Bakri Elgadir, Tony Omayarue.
Subs: Mohamed Mohamed, Mohamed Mahamoud, Wagdi Abd Alla, Ahmed Mahmoud, Tajeldin Badawi, Ahmed Yousif, Abd Hassan.