APR revive title quest with Kiyovu win


Patrick Sibomana leads his APR teammates in celebrations after Fiston Nkezingabo (#26) had scored the first goal on Saturday. (Sam Ngendahimana)

Mukura VS 2-1 Marines
Kiyovu Sports 0-2 APR FC

Etincelles 2-4 AS Kigali
Gicumbi 0-1 Bugesera
Sunrise 3-0 AS Muhanga

APR defeated rivals Kiyovu Sports 2-0 on Saturday at Kigali Regional Stadium to embark on what head coach Emmanuel Rubona described as the ‘real start of ’our league season.’

The reigning champions won the game thanks to late goals in quick succession through youngsters Fiston Nkezingabo and Janvier Benedata in the 82nd and 84th minutes respectively.

The win took the army side to fourth position on the table with 21 points, seven behind league leaders AS Kigali albeit with two games in hand. Kiyovu Sports remain sixth with 17 points.

Mukura Victory Sports maintained their grip on second place with 26 points following a 2-1 home win over Marines FC at Huye stadium, while Rayon Sports are in third position with 22 points from 11 matches. The top two teams have played 12 matches each.

After beating SC Kiyovu, Rubona said, “We have to take it match per match. My players know what our targets are for the season, and among them is to win every single game. It’s not easy, but we will try to get as many points on board as possible.”

“It is still a long season but we are in a very good position to push (for the title) as much as we can, and then see where we end up. My aim is to be among the title contenders. After today’s win, I can say that our season starts now,” he noted.

The record 15-times league champions have won six, drawn 3 and lost one of the ten league matches that they have played so far.

It was APR’s first game in the league since it returned from a three-month break, following the conclusion of the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) as the army side was playing in CAF Champions League preliminary round, first leg against Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland, which they lost 1-0.

Kiyovu Sports head coach Yves Rwasamanzi said that they made two mistakes which cost them, having held on for 82 minutes.

“We made two mistakes and APR punished us by scoring two goals. If you are playing against a good team, you have to be careful, something we failed to do for the full 90 minutes. Now we are going to rectify our mistakes going forward into the next games,” he said.

Elsewhere, Mukura edged Marines 2-1 to keep pressure on AS Kigali. Forward Yussuf Habimana scored in the 19th minute and Burundian import, Christophe Ndayishimiye netted the second eight minutes later. Hussein Nsabimana scored the consolation goal for Marines on the hour mark.

On Friday, table leaders, AS Kigali thrashed relegation threatened Etincelles 4-2 to extend their unbeaten streak this season, and stayed on course for their first league title.

Striker Onesme Twizeyimana netted a hat trick while Amini Muzerwa netted the other goal for Eric Nshimiyimana’s side at Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu. Etincelles remain second from bottom with six points.

Sosethene Habimana’s Sunrise FC jumped to seventh spot with 14 points after trouncing bottom-placed AS Muhanga 3-0 in Rwamagana town. In Gicumbi, Bugesera FC snatched a slim 1-0 win over hosts Gicumbi FC to move up to 12th position with 10 points.