Michel Rusheshangoga came off the bench to preserve APR’s winning run in Azam Rwanda Premier League season with a sensational late winner during the 2-1 victory against archrivals Rayon Sports at Amahoro Stadium on Wednesday.
The runaway leaders were reduced to ten men in the 57th minute as Mirafa Nizeyimana was sent off after earning himself a second yellow card for a hard tackle on Brazilian Raphael Jonathan Da Silva who was making his debut for Rayon Sports.
Issa Bigirimana opened the scoring from close range in the 12th minute to put APR ahead after centre-backs Abdoul Rwatubyaye and Thierry Manzi miscommunicated and failed to clear the ball just outside the box.
Rayon Sports almost leveled at half-hour mark but young defender Prince Buregeya was alert to clear the ball on the goal-line after Kimenyi had failed to clear it at the edge of his penalty area.
Ghanaian striker Micheal Sarpong equalised for the blues with eight minutes to time, slotting the ball past helpless Yves Kimenyi after rounding off Rusheshangoga and Fitina Omborenga.
APR looked aggressive and composed at the same time, making it hard for Roberto Oliveira’s tick-tack style to break through their defence despite dominating the middle of the field.
Sarpong and Yannick Mukunzi had one clear chance each to hand the blues a much-needed equaliser but their efforts went wide to go into half-time trailing 1-0.
Rayon had several opportunities to whip in the equaliser earlier and created many more to put the game to bed but forwards Sarpong, Raphael and Prosper Donkor were too wasteful to spare Rayon Sports a third defeat this season.
And they paid dearly for their wastefulness in the dying seconds of the game when Rusheshangoga, who had come on for Bigirimana as a second-half substitute, unleashed a bullet from about 35 metres, giving no chance to Rayon Sports keeper Abouba Bashunga.
APR sit second in the standings with 18 points from six games, one point behind leaders Mukura who have played seven games.
Rayon are in fourth position with 15 points, trailing third-placed Police by one point.