22 April 2019

Rwanda: Robertinho Urges Rayon Players to Stay Grounded After APR Win

Roberto Oliveira'Robertinho' Goncalves has insisted that his Rayon Sports players cannot afford to get carried away following his side's 1-0 win over rivals APR on Saturday.

Despite the three vital points, Rayon still trail APR by three points, with the latter leading the Azam Rwanda Premier League table with 54 points.

A last-minute penalty, which was well-slotted in by Ghanaian striker Michael Sarpong, was enough to sink the champions in what was Robertinho's first league victory over the army side since joining Rayon Sports last June.

"It was a great performance, the boys gave it their all from the beginning," said the Brazilian. "We deserved the victory, and it could have come earlier but we missed a lot of opportunities throughout the game."

Sarpong, 23, rocked the fully-packed 25,000-seat Amahoro Stadium with a stunning penalty that sent APR goalie Yves Kimenyi in opposite direction in the 92nd minute after second-half substitute Gilbert Mugisha was brought down by Emmanuel Imanishimwe in the box.

The game started with APR putting their opponents on the back foot but poor finishing from Lague Byiringiro, Muhadjiri Hakizimana and Dominique Savio Nshuti in the first half came back to haunt them at full time as the champions suffered their third defeat this season.

"We can't afford to lose focus, the win [against APR] should rather motivate us to keep improving and aiming for perfection in our remaining fixtures," added Roberto.

"This is a very crucial period. We are second today, but we know that the next few matches will have a huge impact on the title race. So we must approach every game as a final for us."

Going into the most difficult stage of the season, Roberto challenged his players that 'there is no time to relax' as he seeks to guide the Blues to their ninth league title, and a ticket to the 2019/2010 CAF Champions League.

Both sides created and wasted several chances that would have changed the game but it was Robertinho's men who earned the victory they desperately needed to revive their title hopes.

With ten minutes to clock, APR had a chance to break the deadlock with a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area but Hakizimana's attempt was blocked by Rayon Sports defenders.

The victory did not only earn Rayon crucial three points, but it was also a return of favour to their bitter rivals who had condemned them to a 2-1 loss in the first-leg clash last December.

In the meantime, the league action continued Sunday as fourth-placed SC Kiyovu were stunned 1-0 by relegation-threatened Gicumbi at Gicumbi Stadium, while fifth-placed Police overcame Etincelles 2-0 at Kigali Stadium.

Alain Kirasa's SC Kiyovu, with 38 points from 23 matches, lead the law enforcers by one point.

In other fixtures, third-placed Mukura beat Espoir 1-0 at Kamarampaka Stadium, Sunrise won 2-1 over AS Muhanga in Nyagatare District, whilst Bugesera held AS Kigali to a 1-all draw at Nyamata grounds.

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