Eric Kambale and Martin Kizza scored for Express as the StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) champions took a first leg advantage in the Caf Champions League on Friday.
Their goals ensured a 2-1 first leg win over Sudan’s Al Merrikh at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende, with the second leg due in seven days time.
Kambale gave the hosts the lead inside just seven minutes after interchange of play with Kizza.
The visitors could have levelled moments later two but their forward Amal Kamal Suliman headed inches wide off a corner kick.
Express themselves nearly made it 2-0 but Muzamir Mutyaba’s curling freekick was superbly kept out by goalkeeper Elneel Abuzaid Salman.
Yaya Kakooza also hit the woodwork for Express in a half the Red Eagles should have scored more than once.
And they paid the price as the first half clock wound down, unmarked Bakri Abd Elgadir heading in Merrikh’s equalizer five minutes to the break.
Express, who were making a return to the Champions League for the first time in 24 years, knew they had to get a win here to give themselves a good chance in Khartoum.
And get it they did, Kizza making good use of Godfrey Lwesibawa’s supply to beat the Merrick goalkeeper and make it 2-1 on the hour.
The return leg will be played on September 17, with the tie-winner facing the victor between Equatorial Guinea’s Akonangui FC and Zambia’s Zanaco FC in the second round.