Peace Cup 2019: Ten-man Rayon beat AS Kigali to inch closer to final

Midfielder Fabrice Mugheni, dribbling past AS Kigali striker Jean Claude Ndarusanze, scored Rayon Sports' opening goal during their 2-1 victory at Kigali Stadium on Wednesday. Sam Ngendahimana.

Wednesday (first-leg)

AS Kigali 1-2 Rayon

Fabrice Mugheni and Michael Sarpong were on target as ten-man Rayon Sports beat AS Kigali 2-1 on Wednesday to close in on the Peace Cup final.

The Blues were reduced to ten men in the 77th minute after Eric Gisa Irambona picked a second yellow card with an intentional handball. The left-back will miss the decisive clash on Saturday.

Just after six minutes, midfielder Mugheni opened the scoring with a powerful strike to put Rayon ahead after the ball found him unmarked inside the box from the corner, and it only took Ghana-born striker Sarpong another six minutes to double the lead.

With the 2-0 lead inside the opening quarter-hour, Rayon seemed to relax their pace and focused more on ball possession, and that allowed AS Kigali some breathing space as they also occasionally created chances but their forwards were too wasteful.

However, after missing two clear-cut opportunities, Burundian import Jean Claude Ndarusanze finally pulled one back for AS Kigali with a fantastic header off a curling free-kick from former Rayon Sports skipper Fuadi Ndayisenga.

Jean de Dieu Mateso’s men kept pressing and, Ndarusanze and Ibrahim Nshimiyimana had valuable chances to level the score, but Rayon Sports goalie Andre Mazimpaka and his defenders formed a rock-solid combination to thwart all the threats.

The two sides meet again on Saturday, same venue – Kigali Stadium – with Rayon only needing a draw to reach the Peace Cup final for a second time in as many attempts after losing to Mukura on penalties last year.

The final will be played on July 4, with the winners automatically securing a ticket to the 2019/2020 CAF Confederation Cup.

However, if Rayon win the tournament, already knocked-out APR will take up the Confederation Cup slot courtesy of their second position in the recently concluded 2018-19 league season.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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