Mukura look to beat Rayon again to keep pressure on APR

Rayon Sports midfielder Olivier ‘Sefu’ Niyonzima protects the ball against Mukura striker Rashid Mutebi during the 2018 Peace Cup final at Kigali Stadium last August. Sam Ngendahimana.

Friday

Mukura     Vs  Rayon    15:30

Espoir      Vs  Police     15:30

Muhanga  Vs  Amagaju 15:30

EtincellesVs  Bugesera           15:30

Saturday

Marines    Vs  Kiyovu    15:30

AS Kigali  Vs  Kirehe     15:30

Mukura Victory Sports coach Francis Haringingo has said that his side will be looking for ‘crucial victory’ when they host Rayon Sports on Friday as they seek to keep pressure on leaders APR.

The Huye-based team have closed the gap on the table leaders from eight to just one point, and victory over the Blues, at Huye Stadium will see them leapfrogging APR into the commanding position on the Azam Rwanda Premier League table.

Ahead of the much-anticipated clash between the country’s two oldest football clubs, third-placed Rayon Sports (34 points) trail second-placed Mukura by three points. Reigning champions APR lead the table with 38 points.

Victory for Roberto Oliveira’s Rayon will lift them to second position at the expense of the hosts courtesy of a superior goal difference.

“This match [against Rayon] is special and very important, we are going to fight with everything we have for victory. I know Rayon Sports are tough, but we are ready,” said Burundi-born tactician, Haringingo, the man who last year guided Mukura to their first major title in 28 years.

The black-and-yellow outfit denied Rayon Sports entry to this season’s CAF Confederation Cup with a 3-1 win in penalty shootouts to lift the 2018 Peace Cup title at Kigali Stadium last August. The two sides had played out a goalless draw in regular time and 30 minutes of extra-time.

Haringingo added, “My players know what our ultimate goal for the season is – to win the league title – and they are physically and mentally prepared for the game. With the support of our home fans, this should be a must-win match.”

Hopefuls Mukura overcame Sunrise in a hard-earned 1-0 victory at Nyagatare grounds on Tuesday, thanks to the lone goal from Bertrand Iradukunda just after two minutes.

On the other hand, Rayon Sports, who also on Tuesday beat Etincelles 1-0, courtesy of new signing Jules Ulimwengu’s goal, have warned that they will be targeting three points at Huye Stadium as they bid for their ninth league title and a ticket to CAF Champions League next season.

“We have done fairly well so far, but we have to keep in mind that every game is important and aim to collect as many points as possible. It is important that we win [against Mukura] and boost our title chances,” said Rayon Sports coach Roberto.

The Brazilian has so far achieved very little – since his appointment in May 2018 – to convince millions of Rayon Sports fans on domestic scene despite inspiring them to the quarter-finals of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup.

Mukura centre-backs David Nshimiyimana and Saidi Iragira will have to deal with youngster Ulimwengu, 19, who took his goal tally to 10 on Tuesday, to become joint top-scorer alongside SC Kiyovu striker Djuma Nizeyimana.

Ulimwengu scored nine goals in twelve games, while featuring for Sunrise FC in the first-leg of the 2018/2019 league season.

During the two sides’ clash in December, Innocent Ndizeye’s brace inspired Mukura to a 2-1 win. Former Rayon Sports midfielder Yannick Mukunzi, who has since departed the club for Swedish side Sandvikens IF, scored the consolation goal.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

 

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