Rayon Sports’ title hopes suffer setback with draw at AS Kigali

Brazilian Jonathan Rafael da Silva, seen here in action against Police during a past league match, has not scored a single goal for Rayon Sports since joining the club in November 2018. Courtesy.

Match-day 22

Sunday
AS Kigali 1-1 Rayon Sports

Saturday
APR 2-0 Sunrise

RAYON Sports were left to regret a number of missed opportunities as their title chances suffered a blow on Sunday afternoon with a 1-all draw against AS Kigali.

The Blues now trail champions APR by six points at the top of the Azam Rwanda Premier League with four games remaining.

Roberto Oliveira’s men had plenty of chances to put the game to bed, even before Ugandan striker Frank Kalanda equalised for AS Kigali in the 63rd minute, including Djabel Manishimwe and Michael Sarpong’s clear-cut chances inside the opening twenty minutes.

A dominant Rayon controlled possession, and squandered opportunities one after the other, that only after 11 minutes, they had already had five corner-kicks.

Centre-back Ange Mutsinzi opened the scoring after 28 minutes with a beautiful free-kick a few yards outside Bate Shamiru’s box after AS Kigali skipper Tumanine Titi Ntamuhanga’s challenge on Jonathan Rafael da Silva.

Brazilian forward Rafael da Silva is yet to score a goal for Rayon Sports since his signing last November.

After going into half-time with a 1-0 deficit, Djuma Masudi’s side returned for the second-half noticeably improved and more organized in the defense, and their pressure for an equalizer finally paid off in the 63rd minute when Kalanda outpaced Rayon Sports’ defender Eric Iradukunda to wrap up a fine counter-attack with a fantastic finish against helpless goalie Andre Mazimpaka.

As the game headed into final stages, Rayon created more chances in search for a second lead but second-half substitute Christophe Bukuru was denied by Bate Shamiru a couple times and a last-ditch effort by Ghanaian striker Sarpong went wide as AS Kigali held the eight-time champions to a draw for a second time this season.

The two sides played out a goalless draw in the first-leg last December.

In the meantime, APR beat Sunrise 2-0 on Saturday to extend their lead, thanks to goals from quick-fleet winger Dominique Savio Nshuti and young striker Lague Byiringiro.

APR, who like Rayon have four matches remaining – including the meeting between the two teams on April 20, are top of the table with 54 points, six ahead of Rayon Sports.

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