Title race: Roberto Oliveira warns Rayon players against complacency

Captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy as he and teammates celebrate Manchester City's back-to-back win of the silverware, having beaten Liverpool to the highly coveted crown by a solitary point on the final day of the season on Sunday. Net

ROBERTO Oliveira has rallied his Rayon Sports players that “every game is a final” after his side restored their one-point lead at the top of the Azam Rwanda Premier League table with a 2-1 victory over Amagaju on Saturday.

Jonathan Rafael da Silva and Suleiman Mudeyi, both in their first season with the Blues, scored in either half of the game to send Rayon back to the summit, a point better than second-placed APR with three match rounds of the 2018/2019 league campaign left.

Emmanuel Ndubuisse Uko scored the consolation goal for the hosts, at Nyagisenyi Stadium.

Rayon had almost been written off in the title race before their clash against APR on April 20, and a loss to the defending champions would have stretched to the gap between them. But a well-taken stoppage time penalty by Michael Sarpong inspired what is seen as a near-impossible recovery for Roberto’s side. 

After the 1-0 defeat, APR also dropped points in a goalless draw with SC Kiyovu and a 2-all draw against AS Kigali, while Rayon only extended their winning streak.

“I have never been in a title race so tight; every game is a final,” Roberto told reporters in a post-match interview on Saturday.

The opener against Amagaju was the first league goal for Brazilian forward Rafael da Silva since joining Rayon last November.

“Any slight mistake between now and June 1 could end our title bid. I always speak with my players, and remind them that we cannot be complacent.”

Roberto also lamented the missed chances to put the game to bed earlier, but praised his strickers fighting spirit and urged them to ‘be more ruthless’ in front of goal going into their next game against Musanze, at Kigali Stadium, on May 18.

Whichever side (Rayon or APR) prevail to lift this year’s league title come June 1, will represent Rwanda in the 2019/2020 CAF Champions League.

As it stands, Rayon top the table with 63 points, followed by APR at 62, Mukura are third with 52 points, while Police complete top four with 46 points.

Relegation-bound Amagaju remain at the bottom with 17 points, five adrift of 15th-placed Kirehe.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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