Rwanda 1-0 DR Congo
Captain Jacques Tuyisenge converted the lone goal to give Rwanda a 1-0 win over DR Congo in an international friendly at Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu District on Sunday.
The 24-yearl old striker scored with a cool finish in the 49th minute after a superb cross from full back Fitina Obalenga, who had been put through by Djihad Bizimana.
In the first half, DR Congo dominated the game with two attempts on goal by Hertier Lumbu Nzinga and Guy Basisila Lusadisu but failed to beat goalie Erica Ndayishimiye.
The Frolent Ibenge’s side continued their dominance in a full packed 5,300-seat Umuganda stadium but the Amavubi defence marshaled by
Emery Bayisenge, Faustin Usengemana, Mwemere Ngirinshuti and Obalenga proved impenetrable.
Johnny McKinstry’s boys spent much of the evening playing good short passes with Amran Nshimiyimana, Bizimana and Jean Claude Iranzi all impressing but without really threatening DR Congo keeper Matampi Ngumbi Ley.
Bayisenge and Ernest Sugira both squandered decent goal-scoring opportunities. Amavubi also had a chance to go ahead in the last minute of the first half after Congo defenders brought down Savio Nshuti Dominique but Bayisenge’s free kick was deflected into a corner kick.
Congolese goalie Ngumbi, as well as Rwanda’s Bizimana and Sugira were yellow carded by Ugandan referee Masoud Ssali. In the second half, McKinstry brought on forward Dany Usengimana for Sugira while Innocent Habyarimana also came on in place of Nshuti with Iranzi getting replaced by Yannick Mukunzi.
Mwemere was replaced by Celestin Ndayishimiye while Rachid Kalisa took the place of Bizimana.
Hero of the day Tuyisenge sustained an injury when he clashed with Congolese goalkeeper Ngumbi Ley in the 80th minute, and was subsequently stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Yussuf Habimana.
It was a close and competitive game with both teams seeing chances in either half. Rwanda was in their traditional yellow jersey while DR Congo were dressed in their blue-and-red shirts.
After the game, a beaming McKinstry was modest in his assessment: “We are still working hard to get better. DR Congo is a good side but we have promising players. We maintained our shape and took our chance when it came, hopefully we will reach far in the (upcoming CHAN) tournament”.
“We played against very strong teams Africa in the buildup to the tournament (against Cameroon and DR Congo) and I believe that the will help us in the tournament,” he added.
Asked about Tuyisenge’s situation, the Irish tactician said the forward had sustained a slight knock on his knee. “It’s not serious,” he said.
Rwandan football fans will be hoping the team’s leading striker recovers in time for the CHAN tournament when gets underway on Saturday.
His Congolese counterpart Ibenge said, “We are disappointed with the defeat but we are going to correct our mistakes to try to do better in CHAN finals. We had some good chances to score the goals but Rwanda was better and disciplined.”
This is Rwanda’s second victory over former CHAN winners with Amavubi also having beaten Les Leopards 1-0 in Africa Cup of Nations in 2004 in Tunisia.
Amavubi drew 1-1 with Cameroon last Wednesday at Umuganda Stadium.
The fourth edition of CHAN, a tournament reserved home-based players, will get underway in Rwanda on Saturday.
A total of 16 teams, including hosts Rwanda, will take part in the biennial tournament, the second largest football showpiece on the continent.
Additional reporting Times