Monday, July 15, 2024

Rollers off to a flying start in Champions’ League Group stages

Township Rollers took a tentative step towards making it out of the CAF Champions League group stages with a 1 ÔÇô 0 win over Kampala Capital City  Authority (KCCA) on Friday night.

Rollers’ goal came on the 36th minute courtesy of Lemponye Tshireletso, who, after coming at the end of Joel Mogorosi’s through ball, rounded off KCCA goalkeeper Tom Ikara to slot home what would be the game’s one and only winning goal.

The win, which was the only one registered in the opening day of the CAF Champions League group stage games, sees the local outfit lead Group A with three points ahead of North African Giants Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia who played to a goalless draw on the same day.

While the game puts Rollers at the top of the table, head coach Nikola Kovazovic refused to be carried away as he anticipates the road ahead to be even tougher.

“Mentioning the log table after one game will not make sense,” Kovazovic said in his post match interview. “We are not the team in position to be a threat to anyone in this group. You saw how quality team is Kampala City and it will be different when we play in front of close to 80 000 spectators in Tunisia,” the Rollers gaffer said.

Kovazovic said at this stage of the season, the team is fatigued and the only time they can make predictions on how they will perform will be at the end of the season. He said they are currently working hard on the psychological aspect of players.

Prior to the game, KCCA Manager Mike Mutebi had promised his young team will play an entertaining football and his charges did exactly that.

Throughout the game, KCCA had the better ball possession and played an eye catching football but never really controlled the game or created as many chances as their inexperience came to the fore.

It was a perfect match for Rollers, who, with a speedy attack spearheaded by the Africa football battle hardened Joel Mogorosi, picked them apart time and again, creating themselves chances which they however failed to convert.

In fact, had Rollers been ruthless in front of goal, they would have been out of KCCA sight at the end of the first half.

Rollers created at least four clear cut chances in the first half, but Tshireletso, Segolame Boy, Mosha Gaolaolwe and Mogorosi fluffed them.

It still begs questions on how the latter missed his chance on the 38th minute. Following a stinging shot at goal from Tshireletso, Ikara palmed the shot into the path of Mogorosi but the striker shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

KCCA nearly equalised immediately after half time but Filbert Obenchan’s effort ricocheted off the crossbar before it was cleared by the Rollers defence.

At the other end, Tshireletso also rattled the woodwork after some nifty footwork but it was as good as it got as the two teams failed to find the net in the second half.

“It was a good game as we had expected. The difference was that Rollers were more effective. They created a chance and took it well. We created chances but we were not effective. It was a good balanced game,” KCCA Manager Mutebi said in his post match interview.

Rollers will now travel away to Esperance of Tunisia in a fortnight whereas KCCA will host Al Ahly in Uganda.


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