Rayon 3 - 0 Etincelles
APR 1 - 0 Musanze
Marines 2 - 0 AS Muhanga
RAYON SPORTS extended their lead at the top of the Turbo King Football League to 52 points and a 3-goal difference mark over rivals APR after claiming a comfortable home victory over visitors Etincelles, yesterday at Kigali regional stadium.
The blues dominated from start to finish and took the lead when striker Cedric Amissi unleashed a sharp shot past impressive goalie Fred Illunga on the 43rd minute.
Congolese Illunga played an instrumental role in the stands for Etincelles as he denied Rayon Sports plenty of goal scoring opportunities in both halves as the blues used their half to execute all their plans of finding the net.
A second goal, taken from close range by Robert Ndatimana in the 84th minute, firmly put three points in the grip of Rayon before Amissi snatched a double, heading in a third goal with a fine header off Djamal Mwiseneza’s cross three minutes later.
Abdu Bizimana’s outfit could attempt only two meaningful shots on goal in the whole 90 minutes. The first attempt came from veteran substitute Yussuf Kayihura and a Jean Bosco Harolimana’s penalty which was easily saved by Rayon goalie Jean Luc Ndayishimiye.
The balance of the match was exactly as you would expect between the expensively-assembled, league-leading top-scorers and a struggling 8th-placed side.
Rayon Sports were never troubled by a disorganised Etincelles side, which has conceded twenty goals this season.
At the other end, the home side's artistic attacking unit - comprising the fulcrum of Fuadi Ndayisenga, the incessantly energetic Meddie Kagere and the enigmatically talented Amissi - ripped Etincelles apart.
It would be harsh to blame Coach Bizimana for this defeat.
Etincelles do not have the personnel to compete with a Rayon Sports side who had won 16 consecutive home matches ahead of this. Prior to the game, the coach had lashed at the club owners for not paying salaries and bonuses for players for several months, thus the lack of commitment in the last four matches.
Belgian Coach Luc Eymael lauded his boys for the victory but called for concentration in the remaining matches because he believes the battle awaits them in the remaining four fixtures to the end of the season.
“We are happy for the win but we have to keep working harder to ensure that we win all our remaining matches. We need to maintain our tactical discipline and fight until the end,” said Eymael.
His counterpart Bizimana was short of words. “There is nothing I can say. We have lost to a strong and motivated team and we are going back to the drawing board to find means of bouncing back again,” Bizimana said.
The win extended Rayon’s chances of retaining the league title. Though they are tied on 52 points with APR, Rayon Sports has a superior goal difference (27) compared to the military side’s 24.
APR, who have lifted 13 league titles, could only manage a 1-0 win over Musanze in their fixture played at Kicukiro turf. Skipper Jean Baptista Mugiraneza scored the lone goal of the game in the 19th minute.
Between now and May 3, Rayon Sports and APR must ensure that they maintain a clean sheet in their remaining four fixtures because any slight slip-up on either side, will grant the title to the other rival.
However, both clubs will face tough oppositions in their quest to win the title. Defending champions Rayon Sports will face Marines on April 5 in Rubavu; AS Kigali on April 20 at Amahoro stadium and Esperance on April 26 at Kigali regional stadium before winding up the season with Musanze on May 3 at Amahoro stadium.
APR face SC Kiyovu on April 5 at Kigali regional stadium; Amagaju at Kigali Regional Stadium on April 6; Espoir in Rusizi on April 26 and AS Muhanga in Kicukiro on May 3.
Meanwhile, Marines who entertain Rayon Sports next weekend snatched a 2-0 win over visitors AS Muhanga at Umuganda stadium to move to ninth position with 20 points.
Amagaju and Esperance remain rocked in the relegation zone with 13 and 12 points each after 22 rounds of the Turbo King Football league.