Rayon 5-1 Mukura
Espoir 0-0 AS Muhanga
Kiyovu 1-3 Police
Musanze 0-0 Etincelles
Sunrise 1-1 Marines
Michael Sarpong and Yannick Bizimana hit a brace each as Rwanda Premier League champions Rayon Sports crushed Mukura 5-1 at Kigali Stadium on Sunday.
The thumping victory served warning to leaders and bitter rivals APR, whom they face in their next game on Saturday, December 21.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated clash, regarded as one of the biggest matches in the region, the two sides are separated by three points, with APR at 34 points. However, Rayon have a superior goal difference (12) – compared to APR’s ten – and a win would lift them to the top.
In Sunday’s win, Mukura – who had won their previous two matches against Rayon at Kigali Stadium – showed no early nerves and almost found the opener after just nine minutes but Ramadhan Niyonkuru’s shot hit the goalpost.
Six minutes later, the visitors eventually took the lead after centre-back Hervé Rugwiro scored in his own nets while trying to clear a curling cross from Mukura captain Gaël Duhayindavyi.
After conceding an own goal, Rayon reacted quickly and started to dominate. They should have been level within ten minutes or less but Edouard Iratugenera was fantastic in Mukura goal to thwart chances from Jean-Claude Iranzi, Sarpong and skipper Eric Rutanga.
However, their efforts were finally rewarded in the 37th minute as Sarpong equalized with a stunning header after some good work between Rutanga and Bizimana in the buildup.
In form Bizimana made it 2-1 on the stroke of the first-half after turning in an easy rebound following Rutanga’s effort that hit the woodwork.
By the hour-mark, the hosts could have scored at least three more goals but the wastefulness of forwards coupled with the brilliance of goalie Iratugenera ensured that their lead remained within reach until Bizimana scored his second goal on the night in the 66th minute after receiving a fine pass from former Mukura captain Hussein Ciza.
Just two minutes later, Ghanaian striker Sarpong also marked his double to extend the Blues’ lead after a goalkeeping howler by Iratugenera before Oumar Sidibé rounded off the win with a thunderbolt strike in the first minute of stoppage time.
With the win, Rayon stayed two points ahead of third-placed Police after the latter edged SC Kiyovu 3-1 at Mumena Stadium. Mukura stayed in fourth with 22 points.Follow https://twitter.com/bishumba