Striker Ernest Sugira came off the bench to score in the 66th minute as Rwanda defeated Togo 3-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the 2020 African Nations Championship on Tuesday, January 26, at Limbe Stadium in Cameroon.
Togo opened the scoring through Yendoutie Richard Nane in the 38th minute but Olivier Niyonzima levelled matters on the stroke of half-time superbly heading the ball past the Togo goalkeeper from a pinpoint free-kick from Emery Bayisenge.
The West Africans went ahead again in the 58th minute through Bilali Akoro; however skipper Jacques Tuyisenge, who was eventually named man of the match, equalised two minutes later after a wonderful cross from Fitina Ombalenga.
Striker Ernest Sugira, who replaced Savio Nshuti in the second half, netted the winning goal for Amavubi in the 66th minute to send their fans in the stands into wild celebrations.
It was a nervous climax as the Togolese pushed for an equaliser which would have taken them to the quarterfinals but Amavubi, who had not conceded in their first two matches and faced elimination with anything short of a win in this tie, held on to the final whistle.
Goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera made a string of good saves late on as Togolese players poured forward in search for a third goal.
Amavubi were by far the better side in the first-half during which they squandered several opportunities in front of goal, with the Rwandan team sticking to their offensive approach through the second half.
Mashami praises team's mentality
Following their deserved victory, Amavubi Head Coach Vincent Mashami praised his side's mental strength after coming from behind twice before going ahead and eventually winning the fixture.
"It was a very tiring match for us because we had to come from behind on two occasions. The team's mentality was really good and they kept their composure when Togo applied pressure," Mashami said during a post-match media briefing.
The result means Rwanda have now reached the quarter-finals of Africa's second largest football competition for the second time in their four appearances.
Elsewhere, Morocco also qualified for last eight at the expense of Uganda, whom they beat 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Morocco wrap up this group stage topping Group C with 7 points, with Rwanda sitting second and joining the Arabs into the next stage with 5 points.
Debuttants Togo and Uganda crash out of the tournament with 3 points and 1 point, respectively.
Morocco 7 points
Rwanda 5 points
Togo 3 points
Uganda 1 point
Group C Round 3
Togo 2-3 Rwanda
Uganda 2-5 Morocco