The Masaza Bloody Semi-finals.
With great turn up, the Gomba Lions, record champions of the Masaza Cup, warmly welcomed their neighbors, Buddu Ssaza, for a semi-preliminary showdown at Kabulasoke Core P.T.C. Gomba fans affectionately dubbed this venue the ‘Santiago Bernabéu’ of the Masaza Cup.
The stadium was packed to capacity, with both teams drawing significant numbers of spectators who passionately supported, sang, and praised the exceptional performance of each club. The management approved senior referees for this high-stakes match. Musisi Henry officiated as the center referee, assisted by Mbabaali Samuel and Ivan Rubwaama. Ali Tomusange took on the role of the fourth official.
From the start, the home team asserted their dominance in the first half, culminating in a penalty just before the halftime whistle. This was a response to the fantastic play from the Gomba boys, especially playmaker Kambugu Lawrence wearing the number ’10’ shirt. He delivered a spectacular pass, broken by Jonathan Oluka. However, Kirumira Reagan attempted to reach the ball, inadvertently fouling Kenneth Kimera in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the home team.
Oryowoth Allan, playing his fourth game for the Gomba Lions, successfully converted the penalty, registering his fourth consecutive goal and putting his team in the lead. The visitors, Buddu Ssaza, mounted significant pressure in the second half, displaying ambition with well-placed cross balls.
Out of nowhere, the exceptional Captain Ayman Twaha Toure, wearing the number ‘8’ shirt, received a precise pass from Paul Kiradda (the right back). He leapt into the air and skillfully placed the ball into the back of the net, leveling the score in the 56th minute.
Unfortunately, after scoring, Twaha Toure suffered a significant injury that required immediate medical attention. An ambulance rushed onto the pitch to transport him to the hospital. Players like Isaac Ofoyroth, Meddie Kasule, and Shakibu Mayanja were contained by Gomba defenders Kagulire Patrick and Onenerach Herbert in the absence of Twaha in the midfield.
Twaha’s absence indeed cost Buddu, and they conceded a second-half goal from an unavoidable free kick by Joseph Kizza. Kimera expertly brushed the ball into the back of the net, making it 2-1.
On the other side, Mawokota, the home team, was the first to score through their possession-based style of play. Richard Malinga and his boys the likes of Micheal Abula, Kisoro John Innocent predominantly owned the mid-field and showcased fantastic football, dominating possession.
However, just before the end of the first half, the Luwero Warriors managed to equalize with a hard-fought goal, leveling the game before halftime. In the second half, both teams made valiant efforts but failed to score, resulting in a draw.
Kavuma Vicent served as the central referee with assistance from Musisi Brianson and Wanyama Davis. Jjumba Simon was designated as the fourth official for the match and effectively managed the proceedings without any disruptions. To recollect, just before the first half concluded at Kabulasoke P.T.C, a perimeter fence was knocked down, as the derby was stopped, causing some inconvenience. Fortunately, the security swiftly addressed and resolved the situation.
The return leg fixture is scheduled for Monday, following social ceremonies in the Buganda Kingdom, which will occupy the entire day on Sunday. Gomba will travel to the Masaka Recreational Ground, while Mawokota will play at the Luwero Acre Stadium.