Vipers moved joint top of the Azam Uganda Premier League courtesy of a 1-0 victory in a tense game played at the St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday evening.

Midfielder Tom Masiko curled in a free kick which took a slight deflection through the SC Villa wall for what turned out to be the game’s only goal on 29 minutes.

The result helped move Vipers level on seven points with leaders Police after three games.

The result was no more than the Venoms deserved after a controlled performance in a fixture that was made tenser by former Villa skipper crossing to Kitende.

Coach Jorge Miguel Da Costa started with a lineup that had Shafik Bakaki partner Deus Bukenya in central defence with Dan Birikwalira on the left and captain Nicholas Wadada patrolling the right side.

Vipers created the better chances with Milton Karisa heading against the post from a Moses Waiswa free kick.

Vipers were at the time dominating the game with Lwanga, Waiswa and Masiko pulling the strings in midfield.

Vipers had a very strong shout for a penalty when Villa captain Bernard Muwanga bundled over Tony Odur in the box.

Odur then flicked a header into the side netting from a deep Bilikwalira cross while Villa midfielder Nicholas Kasozi also appeared to handle in the box.

They were not to be denied on 29 minutes though when Masiko was bundled just outside the box.

The midfielder dusted himself up to squeeze the ball past the Villa goalkeeper.

Villa then had their own appeal on the stroke of half time for a handball before chaotic scenes that saw Villa goalkeeper Samson Kirya shove referee Alex Muhabi in protest.

The second half started with a flurry of yellow cards with Waiswa and Lwanga booked for Vipers while Joseph Nsubuga and Muwanga were booked the other side.

Pius Wangi then shot over from a speculative long yard effort while at the other end Vipers restricted their opponents to long range efforts.

Watenga was consequently only required to pick a deep Geoffrey Lwesibawa cross as Vipers held on for a vital victory.

The Venoms next play Masavu on Tuesday before the international break.