Kampala. Champions Vipers went joint top of the Startimes Uganda Premier League after a controversial Tito Okello strike salvaged a 1-1 draw with rejuvenated Express at the renamed Betway Muteesa II Stadium yesterday.
But for the majority of the sizable crowd that watched the game, referee Ronald Kirangwa’s performance was the biggest talking point as they departed amid teargas.
Many wondered how Vipers captain Taddeo Lwanga, returning from suspension, escaped further punishment for consistent dangerous play while Tony Odur’s insolence only earned him a booking.
But it is Vipers goal, scored seven minutes from time that will attract the most attention, with Kirangwa and his assistant Sam Kakembo allowing Okello’s effort to stand.
This was despite the striker being in an obvious offside position when he received the ball from Lwanga.
In seasons past, the game played on an otherwise bumpy pitch could easily have been aborted at this point.
But with Express serving a suspended sentence for violence in Kavumba, the fans’ fury after the decision was mainly expressed after the final whistle with Ronald Kirangwa and his assistants leaving the field shielded by police.
The result helped Vipers stretch their unbeaten run to 24 league games and moved to 15 points but with a slightly inferior goal difference to leaders KCCA.
Tony Odur who twice wasted one on one opportunities gave Express a 30th minute lead from the penalty spot after Ibrahim Kayiwa was tripped in the area.
They are now unbeaten in five games and are sixth on the log with 12 points after seven games.
The other three games on the day all produced winners with Mbarara City now fifth after goals from Karim Ndugwa and Steven Kabuye gave them a 2-0 away win over struggling Paidha.
Late goals from Ashraf Mugume and Paul Willa gave Police their third win in four games in a 2-1 win over Tooro.
Solomon Walusimbi and Rashid Agau meanwhile scored in successive games to help Maroons record a similar scoreline against their former coach Asaph Mwebaze and Onduparaka.
StarTimes Uganda Premier League
Express 1-1 Vipers SC
Police 2-1 Tooro United
Maroons 2-1 Onduparaka
Paidha Black Angels 0-2 Mbarara City