APR 0-1 Mukura
Gael Duhayindavyi scored the lone goal as Mukura Victory Sports battled to a narrow win over champions APR on Thursday at Kigali Stadium.
Referee Claude Ishimwe showed no hesitation while pointing to the penalty spot after APR centre-back Herve Rugwiro hauled down Mukura striker Onesme Twizerimana in the box.
The penalty was well converted by Burundian midfielder Duhayindavyi in the 24th minute.
With the win, Mukura closed in on leaders APR by one point, having picked 25 points from a possible 27 in their first nine Azam Rwanda Premier League games this season. However, APR have played two games more.
The match had to be paused after 25 minutes – for ten minutes – due to heavy rain after the pitch was filled with ponds of water that did not allow the ball to bounce.
APR, who wanted to extend their unbeaten run to eleven games, came close to taking the lead through Issa Bigirimana in the 10th minute but his one-on-one clear-cut chance was denied by goalie Ismaiel Wironja who was making his first appearance for Mukura.
The goalkeeper was signed from Burundi giants Vital’O last month.
Bigirimana was a constant danger to Mukura’s back four that comprised David Nshimiyimana, Said Iragire, Hassan Rugirayabo and Janvier Mutijima but Wironja’s unflappable positioning ensured a clean sheet for the visitors.
Former APR striker Twizerimana had two chances to double the lead for Mukura but both efforts were thwarted by APR stopper Yves Kimenyi.
The military side had several chances to go level in the second-half but forwards Bigirimana, Lague Byiringiro and (second-half sub) Ernest Sugira, who was playing his first competitive match since August 2017, were wasteful.
Former AS Kigali striker Sugira came on for Bigirimana in the 71st minute, ending his 14-month injury layoff since rejoining APR from DR Congo’s AS Vita Club.
Despite relying mostly on counterattacks the entire second-half, Mukura had a number of opportunities to add salt to APR’s injury but forwards Frank Lomami and Twizerimana failed to find the back of Kimenyi’s net.
The match was initially scheduled for last month but it was postponed due to the two sides’ involvement in CAF competitions.
The result means Mukura remain the only unbeaten team in the league this season.
Despite the defeat, Jimmy Mulisa’s APR remain at the summit, followed by Mukura, while Rayon Sports and Police complete top four with 22 and 20 points, respectively.