Nsabimana scores late winner as AS Kigali clinch third Peace Cup

AS Kigali players and staff celebrate with the trophy and Rwf10 million dummy cheque after beating SC Kiyovu 2-1 in the 2019 Peace Cup final at Kigali Stadium on Thursday. / Sam Ngendahimana

Thursday

Men’s final
Kiyovu 1-2 AS Kigali

Women’s final
AS Kigali 1-0 Scandinavia

ERIC ‘Zidane’ Nsabimana scored a late winner on Thursday as AS Kigali came from behind to beat SC Kiyovu 2-1 in the Peace Cup final at Kigali Stadium.

With the hard-fought triumph over a side that have not won a major silverware in 26 years, AS Kigali maintained their perfect record in Peace Cup finals having also won the title on each of their previous two occasions in 2001 and 2013.

Jean de Dieu Mateso’s men did not only overcome a highly-charged Kiyovu side, but also once again proved they can conquer any opponent in cup competitions after seeing off APR in the round of last-16 before brushing aside Rayon Sports in semi-finals.

Young midfielder Placide Aime Rwabuhihi scored a fantastic header in the 38th minute to put SC Kiyovu on course for what would have been a historic victory. They could have scored at least two more goals but the wastefulness of their forwards combined with the watchfulness of AS Kigali goalie Batte Shamiru ensured that the first-half ended 1-0.

The Green Baggies noticeably dominated the possession in the opening 45 minutes with AS Kigali largely playing from their own half, and, to many, it looked as though the Mumena-based side were finally destined to end their trophy draught – since the 1993 league title.

After recess, AS Kigali came on field more organised in the defence, and with clear purpose upfront as it only took Jean Claude Niyomugabo ten minutes to level the matters after exchanging the ball with Nsabimana in the buildup of his cool finish.

Despite both sides pressing hard to take command of the match and squandering a number of clear-cut chances, the regular time ended in a 1-1 draw, hence forcing the clash into extra-time.

Just three minutes into the 30-minute extra-time, man of the match Nsabimana netted the all-important goal that sealed AS Kigali their third Peace Cup title and a spot to the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

After going down, Alain Kirasa’s side tried to fight back and came close on a number of occasions but custodian Shamiru made brilliant saves from Cameroun-born striker Armel Ghislain, Nizeyimana and Djuma Nizeyimana efforts.

AS Kigali could also have put the game to bed early in the extra-time’s second half, but Nsabimana and Jean Claude Ndarusanze twice had their attempts saved by young goalkeeper Djihad Nzeyurwanda.

Besides the trophy, the victory also earned AS Kigali Rwf10 million worth of cash prize, while misfiring SC Kiyovu walked away with Rwf3million.

In the meantime, AS Kigali women football club also scooped the title of the inaugural Women Peace Cup tournament after beating Scandinavia 1-0 in the final.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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