APR’s title defence suffer blow with shock loss to AS Muhanga

Yannick Bizimana, who has scored 13 goals for AS Muhanga this season, cruises past APR’s Emmanuel Imanishimwe (R) before scoring his second goal during the 2-1 victory at Muhanga Stadium on Saturday. / Julius Ntare

Saturday
AS Muhanga 2-1 APR
Mukura 1-0 Marines
Espoir 1-1 AS Kigali
Sunrise 1-2 Kirehe

Yannick Bizimana scored twice as ten-man AS Muhanga stunned APR 2-1 at Muhanga Stadium on Saturday.

The defeat gives Rayon Sports an opportunity to dethrone APR as the 2018/2019 Azam Rwanda Premier League champions with a game to spare, should they overcome Kirehe in their next fixture on Friday, May 24.

After 28 games, and with only two match rounds left this season, Roberto Oliveira’s Rayon – who swept aside Musanze 3-1 on Friday – top the table standings with 66 points, four ahead of second-placed, and reigning champions, APR.

On Saturday, Bizimana put the hosts ahead in the 19th minute with a stunning solo effort after outpacing APR centre-back Prince Byiringiro before rounding off goalie Yves Kimenyi.

Despite having their star midfielder Junior Nizigiyimana sent off with a straight red card in the 36th minute, AS Muhanga held onto their first-half lead, and in-form Bizimana would double it just four minutes after the break with a strong strike a few yards outside the box.

Amavubi forward Hakizimana, the 2017/2018 player of the year, scored the consolation goal for the visitors in the 66th minute in what was APR’s fourth defeat this season. They have won just two of their last six games.

The military side’s slump in form started with their 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Rayon on April 20, and only the 3-0 win over Bugesera separated that loss and two consecutive draws against SC Kiyovu and AS Kigali.

WHAT IS NEXT?

After the devastating blow to their title defence, APR will be hoping that overwhelming favourites Rayon slip-up in their away tie against relegation-threatened Kirehe on Friday next week, a day before they host lowly Espoir at Kigali Stadium.

APR, 17-time champions, will be up against Police in their final game, while the Blues will be dealing with famed party-spoilers Marines, on June 1.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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