AS Kigali 1-0 El Jadida
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AS Kigali maintained their perfect home record after registering a 1-0 win against Difaa El Jadida in the first leg of the 1/8th round of the Caf Confederation Cup played yesterday at Stade de Kigali.
Teenager Jean Paul Niyonzima came off the bench to score the only goal of the match after 67 minutes, capitalising on a Jimmy Mbaraga’s cross to give his side a first leg cushion.
It was the third successive win for the debutants, after registering the same goal margin in previous matches against Burundian side Academie Tchite and Sudan’s Ahly Shendi in the past two rounds.
It was a well-deserved win for the home side which was playing in front of many fans for the first time after the local football federation scrapped entry fees.
Burly midfielder Naby Sounaa led Jadida’s raids on AS Kigali defence but failed to get a breakthrough during the first half even as the North Africans dominated.
AS Kigali had two attempts at goal in the first half from young striker Justin Mico and Amin Mwizerwa.
AS Kigali goalie Emery Mvuyekure, who will miss the second leg after accumulating two yellow cards, twice kept his side in the game, saving from Johan Boukamba in the 3rd minute and again denied Sounaa chance in the 23rd minute.
AS Kigali continued to maintain their composure with Hamidou Ndayisaba, Rodriquez Murengezi and Mohammed Kabura manning the midfield, while skipper Mbaraga led the line alongside Mico.
Jadida continued to control the game in the second half with Sounaa and Bakre Helari winning midfield battles.
Ten minutes into the second half, Helari saw his curling shot blocked by impressive central defender James Tubane.
Casa Mbungo brought on Janvier Mutijima replacing Mwemere Girinshuti at left full back. Hakiri Mabura and Niyonzima also came in places of Ndayisaba and Mwizerwa.
Mvuyekure made a reflex save from substitute Ayoub Nanah, who has scored five goals in this competition.
However, Mvuyekure received a yellow card for holding the ball outside the goal area as he battled to clear the ball off Nanah’s foot. It was his second yellow card in two matches, which ultimately rules him out of the second leg.
As Jadida pushed for a goal, defender Patrick Umwungeri connected a long ball to Mbaraga, who did well to eliminate Adil Sassa before setting up Niyonzima who headed past Zouhair Laroub into Jadida goal.
Nanah and Sounaa had their decent efforts put off bay by impressive Mvuyekure.
After the game, Casa Mbungo hailed his players but remains focused on the second leg. “This is a win for the nation. I am proud of my players, who did so well against a very good side tactically and physically.”
“The second leg will be even tougher, especially without our first choice goalkeeper, who joins other key players [who will miss the second leg] but we will head to Morocco confident that we can get a good result there after all we have something to defend,” added Casa Mbungo.
His counterpart, Abdelhak Benchikha remains optimistic on qualification, saying, “It is unfortunate that we lost having dominated the game, but we still have a chance of overturning the result at home. I believe we will win in the second leg.”
The second leg will take place next weekend with the winner advancing to the play-off round stage.