Police FC 0-1 Rayon Sports
Rayon Sports head coach Olivier Karekezi admitted that the win over Police FC on Thursday proved that the Azam Rwanda Premier League defending champions are determined to put up a spirited fight in their bid to retain the league title.
Second half substitute Eric Irambona, who came on for Malian forward Tidiane Kone, netted the lone goal in the 63rd minute at Kicukiro Stadium to help Rayon jump from 10th to 5th position on the table with 11 points albeit with two games in hand on leaders AS Kigali and one on second-placed SC Kiyovu.
“It wasn’t an easy game but we managed to get a goal in the second half through Eric Irambona, it is three points that we wanted and we got them,” former APR FC and Amavubi forward Karekezi said in his post-match interview.
He added: “We have been going through tough times in the past few weeks, which could have affected the players but they have managed to overcome all that and put up a very good performance against a good team. We had two key players missing but I am thankful to get three points.”
The champions were without Burundian internationals Pierrot Kwizera and Shassir Nahimana, who are on international duty at the ongoing CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kenya but still dominated Police and could have won by a more convincing margin.
Karekezi noted that, “I am delighted not only with the result but the overall performance of my players because we controlled the proceedings and we have shown strong character to come here and beat a side that is among our closest challengers for the title.”
Rayon Sports dominated the game from start to finish and should have been 2 or even 3 goals up in the first half as the visitors had six corners and also missed a penalty through midfielder Yannick Mukunzi, whose attempt was well saved by Police keeper Marcel Nzarora.
Police FC head coach Innocent Seninga said, “I am very disappointed with the individual performance of each one of my players. They are playing deeper, which allowed Rayon Sports to dominate us. It seems like we were not ready for the match.”
“We’re disappointed to lose today, we came into the match to win, but it hasn’t been our day. This is football, we didn’t create many chances. We did not play the way we wanted. They put us under pressure and we failed to find our way back into the game,” he noted.
Rayon Sports jumped to fifth place with 11 points and will return to action on Sunday against 14th-placed Amagaju FC in Nyamagabe before playing newcomers Miroplast FC next week.
Police FC remain in fourth place with 12 points, four points behind league leaders AS Kigali, while SC Kiyovu and APR FC are third and fourth respectively with 15 points each.