Sports

Rwanda: APR Retain League Title for Third Consecutive Season

Two second half goals from forward Gilbert Mugisha were enough to help APR beat Police 2-0 on Thursday, June 16, at Kigali Stadium and retain the league title for the third time in a row.

It was the club's record-extending 20th league title in 27 years.

Mugisha, a former winger for Rayon Sports, was the cult hero for the army side and his vital brace put a bitter end to SC Kiyovu's pursuit for their first championship in 29 years.

APR started the game aggressive in the attack as they pressed for an early lead to keep their title hopes in control, with Moroccan head coach Adil Erradi deploying four forwards – Yannick Bizimana, Lague Byiringiro, Gilbert Mugisha and Innocent Nshuti – in the starting eleven.

APR players and technical staff lift the trophy aloft to celebrate their 20th league title after beating Police 2-0 at Kigali Stadium on Thursday. Photo: Sam Ngendahimana.

Pressure mounted on Police when Mugisha dribbled past the opposite side's defenders from the left flank and passed Bizimana whose effort was saved by veteran goalie Eric 'Bakame' Ndayishimiye.

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Despite the army side dominating the first half, Francis Nuttal's men thwarted their chances and kept the score goalless until the break.

Six minutes into the second period, however, Mugisha broke the deadlock with a powerful strike that handed APR the lease of life they desperately needed.

Police's frontline tried for an equalizer few minutes later after Dany Usengimana did some fantastic work in the buildup and delivered a sharp cross to Antoine Dominique Ndayishimiye but his effort was comfortably denied by youthful goalkeeper Pierre Ishimwe.

To kill the game for the law enforcers, Mugisha scored one of the best goals of the season in injury time following a defensive howler by Police centre-back Faustin Usengimana.

What the result means

The 2-0 victory over Marines at Muhanga Stadium was not enough for SC Kiyovu who were hoping for another slip up by Adil's men on Thursday.

Abedi Bigirimana and Emmanuel Okwi scored in the second half to help Kiyovu finish second on the league table with 65 points, just a point behind champions APR.

"I am happy for my players for today's performance. It's been a difficult season but we are champions. We are not champions because of only today's match but how we performed during the entire campaign," Adil told reporters in a post-match interview.

Match-winner Mugisha said his performance against Police is what he wants to maintain in contributing to the club's success.

"It's been a good season for me and I am happy for today's performance. I want to feel more important at the club and help them win more silverwares," Mugisha said.

The champions bagged Rwf25 million in cash prize on top of securing a ticket to represent the country in the 2021/22 CAF Champions League.

Meanwhile, Etoile de l'Est joined bottom side Gicumbi as the second team to be relegated to the second division league after suffering a 2-0 defeat to AS Kigali.

Artmotion S.Africa

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