Azam 2-1 TP Mazembe
Rayon 1-2 KCCA
Rwandan champions Rayon Sports have failed to reach their first Cecafa Kagame Cup semi-finals in six years following Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Ugandan outfit KCCA at Kigali Stadium.
The last time Rayon reached the last four in the annual tournament was in 2013 when they were seen off by eventual winners Vital’O, of Burundi. The latter beat APR in the final.
Africa’s oldest regional club competition, the ongoing Cecafa Kagame Cup is the competition’s 42nd edition. Rwanda is hosting it for a fourth time in the last 15 years.
On Tuesday, after a number of missed chances on both sides, left-back Musatapha Kiizza finally put the Ugandan champions ahead in the 33rd minute, which also proved to be the only difference at half-time.
Just three minutes after recess, Rayon equalized through new signing Herve Rugwiro, but KCCA strikers Mutyaba Muzamiru and Allan Okello continued to devastate Rayon Sports’ defence, without success, until Jackson Nunda headed in what turned out to be the winner, in the 67th minute.
Overall, the Ugandan side dominated the game, but after going down for a second time, Rayon regrouped and could have equalized again – or even win the game – had it not the wastefulness of Jules Ulimwengu, Hussein Ciza and Amran Nshimiyimana who failed to beat KCCA custodian Charles Lukwango, who was fantastic in goal.
Meanwhile, two-time reigning champions Azam FC were the first team to reach the last four after edging out former African champions TP Mazembe, also with a 2-1 win.
Mazembe opened the scoring through Ipamy Giovanni in the 21st minute, but the lead was short-lived as Selman Iddi brought Azam back into the game only after six minutes before Obrey Chirwa netted the winner in the 69th minute.
The quarter-finals continue Wednesday with Gor Mahia facing Green Eagles at 4pm, while APR take on AS Maniema at 6:30pm.
In semi-finals, scheduled for Friday, Azam will be up against the winner between APR and AS Maniema with KCCA delighting the winner between Gor Mahia and Green Eagles.
The final is scheduled for Sunday, July 21, at Kigali Stadium.
Rayon Sports goalkeeper Yves Kimenyi looks dejected after condeding the first goal. / Courtesy
Rayon Sports midfielder Amran Nshimiyimana (C) marks a KCCA player during their 2-1 defeat at Kigali Stadium on Tuesday. / Sam Ngendahimana
KCCA players celebrate after seeing off Rayon to reach the last four at Kigali Stadium on Tuesday. / Sam Ngendahimana
Rayon Sports players regoup to chart new strategies after going down for a second time on the night at Kigali Stadium. / Courtesy
After exiting the Cecafa Kagame Cup, Rayon Sports shift focus on getting ready for their busy 2019-20 season. / Sam Ngendahimana
KCCA noticeably the game in both halves. / Sam Ngendahimana