APR lose more ground as Rayon take one step closer to Azam Rwanda Premier League title

Hopes for reigning champions APR FC to retain the Azam Rwanda Premier League title dimmed further following their 1-1 draw against Police FC on Sunday. The result handed Rayon Sports a commanding seven-point lead at the top of the table, the leaders having bagged all three points against Musanze on Saturday.
APR forward Issa Bigirimana (L) battles with Police defender Hussein Habimana during the match on Sunday, which ended 1-1. / Sam Ngendahimana
APR forward Issa Bigirimana (L) battles with Police defender Hussein Habimana during the match on Sunday, which ended 1-1. / Sam Ngendahimana

Sunday
Mukura VS 2-1 Bugesera FC
Sunrise FC 1-2 SC Kiyovu
Police FC 1-1 APR FC
Kirehe FC 1-2 Marines FC

Saturday
AS Kigali 2-1 Pepiniere
Gicumbi FC 1-0 Amagaju FC
Espoir FC 0-0 Etincelles
Musanze FC 0-1 Rayon Sports

Hopes for reigning champions APR FC to retain the Azam Rwanda Premier League title dimmed further following their 1-1 draw against Police FC on Sunday.

 

The result handed Rayon Sports a commanding seven-point lead at the top of the table, the leaders having bagged all three points against Musanze on Saturday.

 

By the end of the season in a few weeks time, the Blues could be boasting an even wider gap at the summit of the table having played two games less than their closest rivals. APR and indeed most of the other teams have five matches left to the end of the season.

 

Former Police midfielder Amran Nshimiyimana celebrated his first goal of the season when he scored in the 55thminute to put APR in the lead before Dany Usengimana equalised ten minutes later for his 16th goal of the campaign.

However, it was also a disappointing result for Police which stand in the third place on the league table.

“It was our game to win because we were in control for larger spells but my players did not stick to our game-plan. I am not blaming them because they managed to recover from going down to draw against the champions, but I am disappointed we have not won,” Police head coach Innocent Seninga said after the match.

He added, “The players showed great fighting spirit to come back from down to earn a deserved point. We came into the game wanting to win and we’re disappointed with the final result because I believe we deserved more.”

“APR used a lot of players in the midfield so I had to change tactics to counter their game, something that we managed to do very well. We still have a chance to finish in second place,” Seninga noted.

His counterpart, Jimmy Mulisa, admitted that it was a fair result for both sides. “It was a good game with intensity and probably a fair result for both teams, although, I must admit, it has significantly dented our chances of winning the title.”

“After this result, it’s evident that we can’t win the league but must work hard to finish in second position; we need to build on this result for the next games.”

The draw left the league table unchanged with Rayon Sports, who beat Musanze FC 1-0 on Saturday leading with 58 points, which puts them seven points clear of second-placed APR and two games in hand. It was the ninth draw of the season for both teams, only Espoir FC, with 10, have drawn more.

Police are third with 48 points, one above fourth-placed AS Kigali after their 2-1 win over Pepiniere, who stayed bottom and already doomed for an immediate return to the second division. In other matches, SC Kiyovu secured their first win in the league second round after beating Andre Casa Mbungo’s Sunrise FC 2-1 at Nyagatare ground. Vedaste Niyibizi scored the opening goal for the hosts in the 21st minute before Coulibaly Ibrahim equalised in the 61st minute while Lauren Habimana netted the winner in stoppage time (90+2 minute).

Despite the win, Aloys Kanamugire’s side remain in 13th position in the 16-team league table on 25 points, four above Gicumbi FC, who occupy the last two relegation spots, with five matches left.

In Huye, Mukura Victory Sports beat Bugesera FC 2-1 at Huye Stadium. Striker Farouk Ruhinda put the visitors ahead while Kevin Nshimiyimana and Christophe Ndayishimiye scored for the hosts to jump to 9th place with 29 points albeit with a game in hand.

Marines FC were also victors in Kirehe’s backyard with a 2-1 win, but remain only two points above Gicumbi FC, who beat 12th-placed Amagaju 1-0 on Saturday.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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