Rayon Sports 2-2 AC Leopards (Agg. 2-2)
*AC Leopards progress on away goals
Rayon Sports had one leg in the next round but somehow threw away a 2-0 lead at half time in a 2-2 draw against 10-man AC Leopards to exit the Caf Champions League at the preliminary round.
With the scores evenly balanced at 0-0 from the first leg, the Rwandan champions did the needful in the first 45 minutes but they failed to defend their comfortable advantage as the Congolese side netted twice in a space of three minutes in second half to go through to the first round on the away goals rule.
Rayon Sports, in their usual blue and white home kit and playing in-front of a near packed Amahoro stadium, dominated the first half as the visitors in green and white outfit took a cautious approach.
However, AC Leopards ended the game with ten players after their skipper Boris Moubhio was sent off in the 85th minute by Tanzanian referee Israel Mujuni for a second bookable offence.
Luc Eymeal’s team took the lead on the stroke of half time when an AC Leopards defender scored in his own net as he attempted to head a way a well-taken corner from Cedric Amiss. Rayon Sports’ striker Pappy Kamanzi claimed it, but TV replays showed the AC Leopards defender had the final touch.
Two minutes later, it was 2-0 to the home team, and everyone inside the stadium, apart from a handful of visiting supporters, started to celebrate early victory.
Rayon’s second goal by Amiss will leave a lasting impression as the Burundian international midfielder cum striker showcased excellent skills when he dribbled past three opposition defenders and rounded off the keeper before slotting into an empty net.
Game of two halves
While AC Leopards were the underdogs in the first half, tables turned against Rayon in the second 45 minutes.
Whether it was a poor tactical decision by Eymeal or just lack of experience at this level, Rayon Sports, after going 2-0 up, should have defended better but they continued to attack in the second half and they paid the price.
By continuing to attack, Eymeal’s team was left exposed at the back and AC Leopards, who reached the quarter-finals of last year’s competition, scored two quick-fire goals through Cesail Gandze and Cisse Mahamane in the 57th and 60th minutes respectively.
For Rayon, the Amiss and Kamanzi combination failed to change things after the Congolese kept their composure and easily dealt with everything that was thrown at them.
Rayon Sports captain Faudi Ndayisenga could have done better on two separate occasions with just the keeper Bindimbou to beat but wasted the opportunity.
Eymeal brought on Meddie Kagere for the injured rookie central defender Alype Mujyambere and Samson Jakeshi for Kamanzi but the striking duo did little to improve things as the visitors took to time wasting tactics, which led to seven minutes of stoppage time at end of the 90 minutes.
The 2012 Caf Confederation Cup winners held on to the result they needed to progress. AC Leopards will face 1ero D’Agosto of Angola in the first round.