Ulimwengu goal sinks Police as Rayon Sports go top

From L-R: Goalkeeper Andre Mazimpaka, head coach Oliveira Roberto Goncalves and winger Eric Iradukunda join Rayon Sports fans in celebrations after Sunday’s hard-fought 1-0 victory over Police at Amahoro Stadium. /Julius Ntare

Sunday
Police 0-1 Rayon
Mukura 4-1 Musanze
Espoir 3-1 Bugesera
Etincelles 1-0 Kirehe
Sunrise 1-1 Amagaju

Jules Ulimwengu’s second-half goal was enough as Rayon Sports overcame a major hurdle in the quest for their ninth league title with a narrow 1-0 win over Police at Amahoro Stadium on Sunday.

For the Blues, the fixture meant more than just three points; it was also a return of the favour after the law enforcers had won the reverse fixture by an identical 1-0 victory last December.

Young striker Ulimwengu propelled Rayon to the summit in the 86th minute to make it five goals in his last three games and a total of 17 goals this season as he continues to lead the chase for the league’s golden boot; three better than APR forward Muhadjiri Hakizimana.

The 19-year-old sealed the three points for the visitors with an easy finish from inside the box after a defensive lapse and miscommunication between goalkeeper Emmanuel Bwanakweli and his defenders.

After the break, Roberto Oliveira quickly brought in Eric Irambona for Eric Rutanga and he would later make another two changes with Gilbert Mugisha and Jonathan Rafeal da Silva coming in for Hussein Habimana and Djabel Manishimwe, respectively, to bolster Rayon Sports’ attack as Police were put on the back foot – largely playing from their half – to avoid conceding.

Indeed, the pressing of Michael Sarpong, the pace of Ulimwengu and dangerous crosses from Eric ‘Radu’ Iradukunda proved hard to contain for Maurice Nshimiyimana’s back-line.

Second-half substitute Mugisha came close to doubling the score but his effort was blocked and parried into the corner by Police defender Isaac Mitima before the centre referee Ruzindana Nsoro blew the final whistle as Rayon fans capped the game with their famous thunder clapping.

For the first time since early March, the Blues top the Azam Rwanda Premier League table, with 60 points, just a solitary one point ahead of now-second-placed APR. Mukura, who thrashed Musanze 4-1, are third with 52 points, while Police remain in fourth position with 43 points.

With four games left to go, Rayon are red hot favourites for the title, and a spot in the 2019/2020 CAF Champions League next season.

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editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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