Shattered dreams: Rayon fall in Nigeria

Bonfils Caleb Bimenyimana scored Rayon Sports’ only goal during the 5-1 defeat yesterday. The Burundian striker is seen here attempting a strike outside the box during the first-leg in Kigali. File.


Enyimba 5-1 Rayon

Enyimba FC proved there is simply no substitute for experience at the highest level of African football as the Nigerian giants thrashed Rayon Sports 5-1 on Sunday to reach the last four in CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals.

Stanley Dimgba, Udo Ikouwem, Sunday Adetunji, Joseph Osadiaye and Isiaka Oladuntoye scored for Enyimba, while Caleb Bimenyimana netted the consolation for Rayon.

Dimgba scored the opening goal to put the hosts ahead in the 12th minute before Burundian Bimenyimana equalised in the 25th minute.

Four minutes later when the Blues had probably started thinking they were closing in on making history, Ikouwem restored Enyimba’s lead.

Three minutes after recess, Adetunji slotted home a third goal to make it 3-1 while Osadiaye, in the 60th minute, and oladuntoye, in the 80th minute, completed the 5-1 routing to earn the People’s Elephant a ticket to this year’s CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals.

Two defensive mistakes from skipper Thierry Manzi and Abdul Rwatubyaye, each, and one from Ange Mutsinzi were in large part to blame for Rayon’s shattered dream of reaching the semifinal of Africa’s second-tier club competition.

Mutsinzi was replaced by Gilbert Mugisha after half an hour as Brazilian coach Roberto Oliveira Goncalves de Calmo wanted to push for a first-half lead.

In the second half, Chris Mbondi came on for injured Bimenyimana to boost the chances of scoring second goal but the Cameroonian forward did not make any impact.

Attacking midfielder Djabel Manishimwe who did not create any chance for the strikers made way for Eric Irambona but none of these changes made things any better for the Rwandan side.

Rayon had three clear chances to score but Enyimba goalie Theophilus Afelokhai was alert to deny their strikers.

Prior to hosting Rayon Sports, Enyimba had won 7 out of their 8 home games in the competition while Rayon had managed 4 wins from their last 13 away matches. Rayon were unbeaten in their last 4 CAF Confederation Cup matches, with 2 wins and 2 draws.

With the unceremonious exit from the continental tournament, Rayon will spend next season only featuring in domestic competitions.

Nigerian giants Enyimba will meet Moroccan hopefuls Raja Casablanca in the last four.

The 2017/2018 Azam Rwanda Premier League champions, APR, and Peace Cup winners, Mukura VS, will represent the country in next year’s Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup, respectively.