StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) defending champions, Vipers SC, got off to a shaky start as they were held to a goalless draw by resilient Soltilo Bright Stars on Friday.
The stalemate played on a wet surface at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende following an afternoon downpour was the fifth between the two sides, with Vipers winning the other 13 encounters.
In a match Vipers were starting new life without last season’s top scorer Caesar Manzoki, midfielder Bobosi Byaruhanga and defender Halid Lwaliwa, the champions failed to take full advantage of a fairly dominant first half.
Striker Yunus Sentamu missed the chance to send the hosts into half time leading when he headed inches wide new signing Abdu Lumala’s cross on 41 minutes.
Vipers coach Roberto Oliveira preferred to have new arrival from Bright Stars, Marvin Youngman, on the bench.
Other Vipers new signings in defenders Murushid Juuko, Ashraf Mandela, goalkeeper Alfred Mudekereza and Olivier Osomba all started, with Cromwell Rwothomio coming on after the break.
Bright Stars, under the tutelage of new coach Asaph Mwebaze, were, however, undeterred – fighting for every ball and space in the match.
Stars even had a half chance from Sam Ssenyonjo but Mudekereza was alert in goal.
The hosts, Vipers, could have broken the deadlock on 67 minutes but Bright Anukani missed a sitter after good work from Lumala.
Lumala himself, substitute Rwothomio and Sentamu had further chances to get Vipers three points but they were not being stopped by Stars goalkeeper Hassan Matovu, they were wasteful.
In the end, both teams were good for only a point apiece.
Vipers now shift attention to their Caf Champions League home game against DRC’s TP Mazembe next Saturday.
Bright Stars next play Maroons in the domestic league on October 4. Match Day One continues on Saturday with five games lined up.
*Source: UPL media.