The Red Eagles needed to win in order to reduce the gap with Vipers SC and URA FC who are first and second respectively
Express FC and Mbarara City shared the points from a 1-1 draw in the Uganda Premier League encounter on Saturday at Muteesa II stadium in Wankulukuku.
Martin Kizza scored for Express before Mbarara equalised late in the game through Henry Kitengenyi. The draw is a blow to the Red Eagles who needed a win in order to close in on the leading duo of Vipers SC and Uganda Revenue Authority.
Kizza scored in the 47th minute but Kitengenyi, a former Vipers striker, struck in the 72nd minute. Kizza found the back of the net from a free-kick that was earned after Pistis Barenge handled the ball.
Kitengenyi headed after they had won a corner delivered by Solomon Okwalinga as a disjointed Express backline failed to clear.
The Ankole Lions fought to win a point after they had been reduced to 10 men when Richard Otti was red-carded after a second bookable offence.
Mbarara had to face the Red Eagles without their star man Livingstone Mbabazi who some reports indicate was ill before the game. Mbarara could have won the game but a chance by Okwalinga was denied by Mathias Muwanga late in the showdown.
Mbarara came close to adding the second goal in the additional minutes but Mathias Muwanga’s quick reaction saved the day for the hosts as he denied Jude Ssemugabi.
The Red Eagles will remain third with 35 points while Mbarara City are seven places down with 21 points. The Ankole Lions will play Kampala Capital City Authority FC next as Express are scheduled to face Bright Stars.
Meanwhile, Busoga United picked a 2-1 win over Police FC in a different league tussle.
Paul Ssekulima scored in the 20th minute before the Cops pulled an equaliser in the 58th minute through Herman Wasswa. Franco Onen won the game for the home side as he struck in the second minute of added time.
Busoga United, who have won four matches of the last five, are 12th while Police are fourth with 31 points.
Finally, Wakiso Giants defeated Onduparaka FC 2-0 to end their 18th matchday on a high. Ivan Bogere scored in the 23rd minute before Pius Kaggwa made it 2-0 at the hour mark.
Despite the loss, Onduparaka, who have lost four of their last five games, are ninth while Wakiso are 13th with 19 points.