It took substitute Anicet Ishimwe less than two minutes to score the lone goal that won the derby for APR FC at the expense of arch-rivals Rayon Sports on Wednesday, June 16, at Bugesera Stadium.
Rayon Sports' players were already hoping to share the spoils with a goalless draw until attacking midfield wonderkid Ishimwe coolly finished Lague Byiringiro's assist to break the deadlock in the 89th minute, just a minute after head coach Adil Erradi introduced him as a substitute after 87 minutes.
Rayon started the game better as midfield duo Vital Ourega and Heritier Luvumbu pressed the army side in search of an early opening goal.
Rayon players were sometimes unimpressed by some refereeing decisions from Honore Simba, especially after he controversially denied them a penalty on the 39th following defender Ange Mutsinzi challenge on Luvumbu in the penalty area.
APR's players started the second half under pressure as they knew AS Kigali were already ahead with 1-0 away to Marines at Umuganda Stadium through Hassan Karera's first half goal.
Head coach made three substitutions before prior to the second half to boost his attacking options introducing Lague Byiringiro, Olivier Niyonzima and Yves Mugunga for Keddy Nsanzimfura, Yannick Bizimana and Placide Rwabuhihi.
The trio, however, made little impact until Ishimwe came off the bench in dying minutes to score a goal that brought APR back in the title race.
The army side's win left them tied on 13 points with AS Kigali who are at the top of the table on goal difference.
The two sides are now guaranteed a qualification to play in African club competitions next season as Rayon and the rest remain battling for better positions.
A win over Rayon has seen APR extend their unbeaten run to 36 league games. The last time they lost a match was on May 25, 2019, after falling to a 2-1 defeat to Espoir FC.
Rayon Sports 0-1 APR FC
Police FC 1-1 Rutsiro FC
Espoir 2-1 Bugesera
Marines 0-1 AS Kigali