The New Times (Kigali)

19 December 2012

Rwanda: APR Win It!

Thirteen-time national football league champions APR, yesterday, thumped bitter rivals Rayon Sports with a 3-1 win to lift the Rwanda Patriotic Front's 25th anniversary tournament trophy in the final played last night at Amahoro National Stadium.

Youthful strikers Farouk Ruhinda, who scored a brace, and Jacques Cyubahiro were on target for the military side, while skipper Aphrodis Hategikimana scored for Rayon.

APR coach Eric Nshimiyimana maintained the team that beat Vital'o in the last four save for Jacques Cyubahiro, who came in for injured Ntamuhanga Tumaine.

His Rayon counterpart Didier da Rosa Gomes also kept faith in the same side that thrashed Uganda's SC Villa in the semi-final.

The match played at the 25,000 capacity Amahoro national stadium was frenetic right from the first whistle with both sides creating several chances.

Rayon Sport came closest to taking the lead after ten minutes when goalie Jean Claude Ndoli fumbled a Cedrick Amissi effort from a free kick.

Ten minutes later, Hegman Ngoma tested goalie Marcel Nzarora with a fine header which the former Amavubi U-17 custodian kept at bay with a fine save.

Kambale Salita should have scored for APR two minutes later, after Heritier Turatsinze let the ball slip under his foot but the DR Congolese born striker blazed his shot over the bar from the edge of the penalty box with Ndoli to beat.

APR's Barnabe Mubumbyi then had a shot go wide before Jerome Sina was similarly denied at the other hand.

The Blues dominated the proceedings of the first half but both sides had equal chances of finding the net.

The second half started with Cyubahiro and Jean Claude Iranzi causing all sorts of problems for the Blues defence before Ruhinda gave Nzarora a scare with a shot which hit the cross bar on 56th minute.

There was finally a breakthrough a minute later when Emery Bayisenge's freekick was blocked. Rayon Sport had a goal disallowed after playing a one-on-one with Fuadi Ndayisenga only to be ruled offside by Burundian assistant referee Jean Claude Birumushahu.

APR benefited from Rayon Sport players' frustration to launch a counter-attack which found Ruhinda in the right position, dribbling past Karim Nizigiyimana to score the opening goal on the 60th minute.

Gomes brought Hussein Sibomana on for Fuadi Ndayisenga almost straightaway and the Blues continued searching for an equaliser which never took long to come.

Hategikimana connected a well taken set-piece from Sina to score Rayon Sport's equaliser on 80th minute. The Frenchman then boosted his striking force with Leandre Sekamana replacing Djamal Mwiseneza and it paid off when the former Police midfielder nearly sunk APR only for his shot to be blocked by custodian Ndoli who was at his best yesterday.

Nshimiyimana then brought on Hamdan Bariyanga for Albert Ngabo to beef up his side's defence and the former Etincelles defender connected a set piece to Jean Claude Iranzi who also beat off a defensive blunder to set up a neat ball to Cyubahiro with the former Isonga striker netting the second goal for the military side on the 85th minute.

Eric Nsabimana was then brought in for injured Cyubahiro to solidify the midfield.

Rayon Sport, eager to get an equaliser, were left exposed, and they paid the price when a dangerous ball from inside the midfield by Barnabe Mubumbyi found Ruhinda who dribbled past central defender Faustin Usengimana and sent goalie Nzarora the wrong way.

That was APR's third and it came in injury time.

In the playoff match earlier on, Burundian giants Vital'O beat SC Villa of Uganda 2-1, thanks to goals from Yussuf Ndikumana and Gires Mavuzi Mambu.

Denis Okot scored the consolation goal for SC Villa, Uganda's most successful club.

APR, established during the 1990-94 liberation war by the RPF, walked away with Rwf6.3m beside the trophy, while Rayon Sport got Rwf4.4 million

Vital'o took Rwf3.1 million, while SC Villa received Rwf1.9 million.

RPF will mark its Silver Jubilee tomorrow.

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