Peace Cup: APR beat Rwamagana to launch strong bid for 10th title

Muhadjiri Hakizimana (on the ball, #10) scored from a free-kick just after three minutes to give APR an early lead during the 2-0 win over Rwamagana City at Kigali Stadium on Wednesday. Sam Ngendahimana.

Wednesday (first-leg)

APR                  2-0   Rwamagana

Gicumbi           0-0   Police

Vision               0-1   Bugesera

Etoile de l’Est  0-0   Kiyovu

Marines            2-0   Etincelles

APR launched their bid for a record-extending 10th Peace Cup title on a bright note as they edged Rwaamagana City 2-0 at Kigali Stadium on Wednesday.

Two first-half goals from star forward Muhadhiri Hakizimana and striker Dany Usengimana were enough to power the army side close to the second round. The two sides face-off again on Saturday in the decisive encounter, in Rwamagana District.

Zlatko Krmpotić’s side who last won the Peace Cup competition in 2017, must win this year’s title if they are to feature in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

Should it turn out to be a failed mission, it will be APR’s first time to miss out on continental football since 2014 when Rayon Sports won the 2012/2013 league title, and Peace Cup went to AS Kigali.

Hakizimana, the reigning player of the year 2018, opened the scoring for APR from a well-curled free-kick just after three minutes before Usengimana sealed the comfortable win for the hosts with a beautiful header after some good work from Fiston Nkinzingabo.

In other matches played yon Wednesday, the 2013 semi-finalists Bugesera beat second tier outfit Vision FC 1-0 at Mumena Stadium, Police were held 0-0 by Gicumbi at Gicumbi Stadium, Etincelles won 2-0 over bitter rivals 2-0 at Umuganda Stadium, while lowly Etoile de l’Est and SC Kiyovu played out a goalless draw in Ngoma District.

After an action-packed month, from June 4 to July 4, the competition’s winners will join Rayon Sports in representing Rwanda in CAF competitions for the 2019/2020 campaign.

Should Rayon add the Peace Cup to their league title, which they claimed last week, APR will play the CAF Confederation Cup courtesy of their second position in the 2018/2019 Azam Rwanda Premier League.

Mukura, who beat Unity FC 2-0 on Tuesday, are the Peace Cup title holders.