APR coach Eric Nshimiyimana was a disappointed man as his youthful team failed to capitalise on home advantage losing 1-2 to visitors Vital’O in a CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg clash played at Amahoro stadium on Saturday.
Defender Leopold Nkurikiye gave the visitors a deserved lead in the 27th minute when he raced past right full back Michel Rusheshangoga before beating goalkeeper Jean Luc Ndayishimiye with a low shot.
The Burundian champions, who looked lively and the better team doubled their lead on the 64th minute through striker Amiss Tambwe, who benefitted from a mix-up in the home team’s back line.
However, despite second half substitute Maxime Sekamana, who replaced Rusheshangoga, and scored in the 67th minute, APR could not find a second goal as Vital’O snatched a memorable away victory against the Rwandan record 14-times league champions.
Afterwards, a visibly disappointed Nshimiyimana did not mince his words as he pointed the accusing finger to his defenders, acknowledging that the military side had put themselves under immense pressure ahead of the second leg which will be played in Bujumbura in two weeks.
“We played poorly defensively and our midfield was outmuscled at times, and in addition, we never used the (scoring) opportunities we created.
“Vital’O had two chances and they took them, however, this is football, you can not say we’re out of the competition because we can go to Bujumbura and win,” the former APR midfielder told Times Sport.
He admitted, “We have to go back to the drawing board and correct the mistake we made before the second leg which will be very difficult. We must score more than one goal away and make sure we don’t concede if we’re to qualify to the first round.”
The second leg match will be played on March 2. Should APR fail to win or in case the match ends in a draw, the Rwanda champions will be out. Last year, APR under Dutch coach Ernest Brandts, now at Yanga FC in Tanzania, were eliminated by Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel in the first round.
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