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Vipers smashes Sudanese giants Al Merreikh to edge closer to their CAF Champions League

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Abraham Ndugwa got the crucial winner a minute into the second half as Vipers advanced to the fi rst round. The Kitende side will now face either Algeria’s CS Constantine or Gambian side Gamtel FC. The two sides that settled for a goal-less draw in the first leg in Algiers last week played last night in the Gambian capital Banjul.

 Ndugwa scored after sending goalkeeper Moged Salman in the wrong direction. This followed a build-up from deep into Vipers half to a right fl ank pass to Tito Okello whose well weighted ball to Ndugwa made the difference.

“This is one of my best football moments,” stated an excitedNdugwa after the St Mary’s stadium return leg that was graced by the Katikkiroof Buganda Peter Mayiga.

 Davis Kasirye who came on for Ndugwa could have stretched the lead but the hosts gasped in shock as he fi red wide. Vipers were after the winner on the receiving end. Al Merreikh who were more comfortable on the artifi cial turf should have on two occasions levelled.

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But skipper Mohammed Yousif twice could not fi nd the mark with goalkeeper Bashir Sekajja at his mercy. Mexican coach Martinez Espinoza conceded that they have a lot of work if they are to progress past the first round.

“We won but we shall have to improve. It’s good that weshall again be starting away. We shall again strive to get that away goal.”

Vipers’ dream is to become the second Ugandan club to qualify for the CAF group stages. KCCA who are this season in the CAF Confederations Cup were the first. A minimum of $550,000 (sh2b) cash prize awaits Vipers should they make it to the group stages. The cash on offer from oil giant Total has the winning team bagging $2.25m (sh8.4b), runner-up Vipers goalscorer Ndugwa. Photo by Richard Sanya $1.25m (sh4.7b)

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