Rayon 1-0 TP Mazembe
Atlabara 1-1 KMC
KCCA 1-1 Bandari
Mukura 0-1 Azam
APR Vs Green Eagles 13:00
Heegan Vs Prolines 15:30
KMKM Vs AS Posts 13:00
Gor Mahia Vs KCCA 15:30
A lone goal from Jules Ulimwengu was enough to secure victory for Rayon Sports in their highly anticipated clash against TP Mazembe on Sunday.
It was the opening match of Group A in the ongoing 2019 Cecafa Kagame Cup.
The lone goal of the game came after new signing Jean Claude Iranzi dribbled past two TP Mazembe defenders just outside the box to send the ball to Ulimwengu who made no mistake as he sent the whole Amahoro Stadium into euphoria with a thunderbolt of a strike in the fourth minute.
The Rwandan champions started the game strongly, forcing the Congolese side to play from their own half in a good part of the opening 45 minutes. The visitors dominated the second period but could not get salvage a crucial point.
From L-R: Eric Iradukunda, Saidi Iragire, Herve Rugwiro and skipper Eric Rutanga celebrate after beating TP Mazembe in their opening match on Sunday. / Saddam Mihigo
Iranzi and Ulimwengu had chances to double the Blues’ lead in the first-half but their efforts were denied by goalkeeper Aime Bakula Ulunde.
With the DR Congo giants controlling the possession, Cameroun-born Olivier Mathurin Ovambe who was taking charge of his first match as a Rayon Sports coach, made three changes with forward Maxime Sekamana coming in for left-back Iranzi, holding midfielder Mirafa Nizeyimana for Olokwei Commodore while Gilbert Mugisha replaced Hussein Ciza.
But, despite the changes, Mazembe continued to create chance after chance and came close to equalizing but Rainford Kalaba had his effort hit the crossbar.
With ten minutes to clock, Giovani Ipamycelvia had an opportunity to put his side level but his strong shot was parried by custodian Yves Kimenyi in the corner.
The Congolese side kept piling pressure on Rayon back-line but, with the fantastic partnership of centre-backs Herve Rugwiro and Saidi Iragire, the hosts held onto their early lead for a hard-fought three points ahead of their next game against Altabara on Tuesday.
After the first match round, Rayon top Pool A table with three points, Atlabara (S. Sudan) and KMC (Tanzania) are jointly second-placed with one point following their 1-all draw on Sunday, while TP Mazembe are bottom without a point.
In the meantime, Mukura Victory Sports, another Rwandan outfit, started their Group B campaign on a wrong footing as they lost 1-0 to two-time reigning champions Azam FC, of Tanzania, at Huye Stadium.
The two-week tournament continues Monday with four matches lined-up; two in Group B at Kigali Stadium and another two in Group D, at Umuganda Stadium.
Three-time winners APR face Zambia’s Green Eagles in their second match, starting at 1pm, after beating Ugandan side Proline 1-0 on Saturday.
This report is a newtimes newspaper online production