Burundi 1-1 Rwanda
BUJUMBURA - RWANDA national football team put up a spirited performance to hold hosts Burundi to a 1-all draw in an international friendly match played yesterday at a packed Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium in Bujumbura.
APR striker Michel Ndahinduka put Amavubi Stars ahead in the 18th minute before Croatia-based Saido Ntibazonkiza equalised for the Swallows at the half hour mark with a fantastic sole goal.
Burundi dominated the first half with their tik-tak style of play spearheaded by Papy Faty, Cedric Amissi and Pierre Kwizera as the visitors opted to go defensive and relied on counter-attacks.
Ndahinduka broke the deadlock when he tapped in a rebound after Burundi goalkeeper Arthur Arakaza failed to hold on an Emery Bayisenga free kick.
Twelve minutes later, Carcovia FC striker Ntibazonkiza beat Amavubi keeper Jean Luc Ndayishimiye with a long range strike from well over 30 yards to send Burundians into wild jubilations.
Kwizera tested Ndayishimiye again with another long range shot but the Rayon Sports custodian was steady this time to make a simple save.
However, five minutes to the end of the first half, Ntibazonkiza suffered a bruised eye following collision with Bayisenge and he was replaced by Enugu Rangers’ striker Steve Nzigamasabo.
Both teams came back after the break with an attacking game plan but it was Eric Nshimiyimana’s Amavubi that got going more than the hosts.
Bayisenge had a superb free kick punched away by Arakaza and again the Flambeau de l’est goalie made three fine saves in quick succession as Amavubi piled more pressure in search for the winner.
On the other end, Kwizera, who plays for Amadou Diallo of Cote d’Ivoire, had two chances from free kicks but was denied, first by Belgium-based defender Salomon Nirisarike and then skipper Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza.
With 20 minutes to go, Nshimiyimana introduced Meddie Kagere for Papy Sibomana, Hussein Cyiza Mugabo for Djamal Mwiseneza and Andrew Buteera for Ndahinduka, while Fitina Ombarenga replaced injured Michel Rusheshangonga at right back.
Later, Fabrice Twagizimana replaced Mugiraneza, who hobbled off with a knee injury. With the game in the dying minutes, Kagere missed a clear opportunity to earn Amavubi an important win.
Elias Uzamukunda, who was outstanding up front, beat Burundian skipper Valery Nahayo to set up a neat pass for Kagere but the Rayon Sport striker failed to guide the ball inside the net.