Turbo King NationaL football league
Rayon Sports 2-1 APR
Amagaju 2-0 Espoir
Musanze 2-1 Marines
AS Muhanga 1-2 SC Kiyovu
Police 2-0 Mukura
Etincelles 1-1 Gicumbi
DEFENDING champions Rayon Sports boosted their chances of retaining the league title after recording a comfortable 2-1 win over archrivals APR yesterday, to climb to the summit of the Turbo King Football League.
It was a memorable evening for the blues faithful as the champions, who have been in impressive form for most of the season, sealed a badly needed win against the 13-time champions at Kigali regional stadium.
Rayon Sports have the same number of points as APR (49) but lead the standings thanks to a solitary goal difference with five matches left to the end of the season.
Djamal Mwiseneza opened the score sheet for the blues with a well taken shot in the 13th minute after he was left unmarked by Michel Rusheshangoga and Emery Bayisenge to dribble past Ismail Nshutiyamagara before unleashing thunderbolt past goalie Olivier Kwizera which sent the full to capacity stadium into jubilations.
APR responded by leveling the score line in the 30th minute with a perfect header from striker Michel Ndahinduka off a brilliant Rusheshangonga cross.
Thereafter it was a balanced duel with both sides attacking with intent, but the blues had the final laugh with left back Abouba Sibomana settling the contest with a sharp drive from the edge of the area in the 41th minute.
Sibomana’s winning goal came after Rusheshangoga failed to clear a Mwiseneza set-piece which was met by the imposing defender who made no mistake but blasted a sharp ball into the right upper corner of the goal.
Rayon Sports made APR play most of the balls in their half for most of the game. The championed kept up the pressure on the military side but were denied by the backline.
APR’s goal keeper Olivier Kwizera needed to be at his best to spare his team a humiliation.
He was forced to put away two attempts from Cedric Amissi as Rayon Sports surged forward for more goals midway through the second half.
In the 60th minute, Amissi beat APR’s defenders to head a cross from Mwiseneza only to be denied by the former Isonga shot-stopper’s goal line clearance.
Six minutes later, Amissi made another excellent volley attempt off Mwiseneza’s cross only to be cleared by Kwizera’s right foot at the edge of the goal line.
On the side of the pitch, in the 70th minute, Jean Baptista Mugiraneza tested Jean Luc Ndayishimiye with a fine header from Charles Bayingana’s corner but the former APR custodian made a superb reflex save.
Three minutes later, Ndayishimiye ensured another fine save, this time putting away a curvy free kick from Papy Sibomana following Barnabe Mubumbyi’s foul at the edge of the goal area.
APR lost Isaie Songa to a knee injury with only his first touch after replacing Yannick Mukunzi. He collided with Arafat Serugendo, prompting coach Vincent Mashami to bring on Albert Ngabo.
This was Rayon Sports’ 16th win of the season as APR succumbed to its second defeat.
Contrary to earlier concerns by football governing body, Ferwafa, there were no security incidents at the stadium with the national police fully in charge.
Elsewhere, Police jumped to third spot (38 points) after recording a 2-0 win over Mukura at Kicukiro turf, while SC Kiyovu beat hosts AS Muhanga 2-1 to move to fourth spot, with 37 points.
In Nyamagabe, Godfrey Okoko’s relegation battling Amagaju registered their third win of the season, with a 2-0 victory over visitors Espoir, while Musanze moved into sixth (36 points), with a 2-1 win over Marines.
On Saturday, Etincelles were forced to a 1-all draw by visitors Gicumbi.
Amagaju and Esperance are in the relegation zone.
With the country heading into the Genocide commemoration week (April 7-13), the next round of the Turbo King Football League games will be played on the weekend of April 19-20.