Going into the match 1-0 down on aggregate after the first leg played in Uganda last Saturday, Stars levelled matters with just two minutes of play gone, when goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela scored from the penalty spot, after striker Benson Shilingo had been fouled in the Vipers penalty area.
Winger Ndumiso Mabena, who had been more than a handful for the Vipers defenders, scored the all-important second goal in the 37th minute for the hosts, and another penalty conversion by Mzimela deep into second half stoppage time, rounded off a fine night for Stars.
Vipers to their credit, never gave up and managed to get on to the score sheet in the 55th minute, but it was not enough to swing the outcome on aggregate over the two legs, which ended 3-2 in favour of Stars.
With the experienced Vuyo Mere and Malawian Robert Ng’ambi working tirelessly to dominate matters in the centre of midfield, Stars looked a quality unit, and more than matched their opponents, as they proved just why they have only lost twice in 13 outings since a string of four consecutive league losses to end off last year.
However, Ng’ambi did take some polish off his fine performance, when he was sent from the field in the 95th minute for a second bookable offence.
Central defenders Gift Sithole and Sphamandla Mlilo kept control of the defensive zone in front of goalkeeper Mimela, to ensure that there was no way back into the match for the Ugandan side.
The winners of the Confederation Cup first round will now be drawn against the losers of the Champions League first round, with the teams from the Confederation Cup hosting the second leg.
Stars will now turn their focus to a tough league encounter away to Bidvest Wits on April 2. The Rustenburg-based club are currently in eighth spot on the Absa Premiership table with 25 points from 20 games.
Would you like to place a soccer bet? Click here to get started in 3 easy steps.