Arua Hill open one point lead in the StarTimes FUFA Big League Elgon Group after coming from behind to draw 1-1 in hostile contest at Mbale Municipal Stadium.
In incidences such as this, Hussein Mbalangu is greatful and the Leopards coach surely expressed his thankfulness in the post match interview.
At least there were cameras all over in the absence of Arua Hill fans to witness an embarrassing moment with an inhuman barbaric acts from the hosts and their fans, who opted to throw stones at one of our players Rashid Yakin after Okhuti notched an equalizer in the 69th minute.
The gaffer made two changes from the team that played Uganda Cup last Sunday, with Emmanuel Mutebi and Alfred Leku coming in for Baden Mujahid and Rashid Agau.
Ibrahim Kibumba opened the score for Mbale Heroes in the 19th minute from the spot kick after the referee awarded a contentious penalty. It was Akiramu Munyolo who inside the box arrowed a strike that was destined for goal but defender Rashid Muhamed blocked the travelling ball except it was taken for handball as the center referee pointed to the spot.
Mbale Heroes played the more controlled football afterwards and they pushed for the winner although, almost implausibly. Whereas Arua Hill first made their intentions to level matters themselves when Emmanuel Mutebi’s 40th minute freekick following a foul on Rajab Kakooza went powerully direct to goalkeeper Hatimu.
That did reflect the hard work by the boys and Mbalangu knew he had to be impressed with the effort, although once again there was much to do including closing up on opponents.
The guarantee following Kibumba’s penalty goal belonged to Mbale. Mbalangu who had maintained his 4-1-4-1 introduced Samari Ajobe and Rashid Kawawa for Rajab Kakooza and Emmanuel Mutebi in the 51st minute and Arua Hill began getting comfortable in possession, helped by ambitious young talent Kawawa and defensively skilled Ajobe, they worked their way and Kawawa was the first to make an attempt though it went wide.
The game took a twist in the 69th minute when Patrick Matovu delivered a perfect freekick in the box for captain Caeser Okhuti who made no mistake but rose highest to head home the equalizer.
Okhuti’s goal summed up Mbale’s mental fragility and unprofessionalism as the hell in Eastern Uganda broke loose, and it began raining stones with poor Rashid Yakin falling victim when the stones exactly targeted his face.
At least Arua Hill scored for the first time away this season and picked a crucial away point. Make no mistake, Arua Hill SC made more attempts at goal with five going on target, and were on the right course amidst the horrifically threatening atmosphere.
The game was difficult and indeed Arua Hill struggled to settle in the first half when it was most difficult but they came out a different and more confident side in front of adversity in the second half, hence managed to pull the all important goal in Mbalangu’s view, who later told club media the point picked is important given the toughness of the game.
“It has been a tough game but we managed to get a point as our target and game plan states, if we can’t get three points, we go with a point which we surely have collected,” Mbalangu said.
“So I thank the players who worked hard because we conceded first but we kept pushing because you can’t win us unless the game is finished. We kept attacking and playing, we did some substitution of which controlled the game and we got a goal.” He continued.
“Getting a point away is bonus because they can’t beat us at our home. So with this point we are safe. It means we shall be getting four points on Mbale Heroes. If we managed in this tough game and secured a point, we are in a better run.” He concluded.
The draw is considered good result and news if you like as Arua Hill now leads the group with eight points but the perfect news for Kongolo family is that Maroons lost 2-1 to Calvary FC in Arua, creating a one point difference with the second place Maroons.
Arua Hill SC will now host Calvary FC at Barifa Play Ground in their next Big League fixture slated for 18th/04/2021.
Arua Hill SC Starting XI:
Anyama, Yakin, Matovu, Kawooya, Rashid, Muhumuza, Mutebi, Kakooza, Leku, Okhuti, Mugalu
Oringa, Lefenia, Simba, Agau, Ajobe, Baden, Kawawa
Mbale Heroes FC Starting XI:
Hatimu, Kibumba, Ayella, Maluda, Lubangkene, Mayanja, Bucochera, Munyolo, Wamboka, Male, Muhwezi
Ibrahim, Jakon, Opima, Owundu, Otai, Olega, Otika