APR head coach Zlatko Krmpotić has hailed the fighting spirit from his players after overcoming Mukura 2-1 at Huye Stadium on Wednesday.
Muhadjiri Hakizimana, with his tenth league goal this season, and skipper Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza scored in either half to fire the military side to seven points clear at the top.
However, the lead was cut back to four points Thursday evening after second-placed Rayon Sports edged SC Kiyovu 1-0 at Kigali Stadium courtesy of Michael Sarpong’s solo goal in the 57th minute.
With five match rounds to go, record 17-time champions APR top the Azam Rwanda Premier League table with 51 points. Mukura are third with 44 points, while Alain Kirasa’s SC Kiyovu complete top four with 35 points.
“I congratulate my players for a good game, and their laudable level of combativeness and maturity. We were very close to dropping points,” said Krmpotić in a post-match interview.
He added: “We again won on away turf. This is a clear indication that we have players who can make deference at any time of the game. We, particularly, owe today’s win to Mugiraneza.”
Muhadjiri Hakizimana opened the scoring in the 18th minute to put the visitors ahead, and it was not until the 66th minute that former APR forward Patrick Sibomana hauled Mukura back into the game with an equaliser.
Mugiraneza who missed Amavubi’s AFCON 2019 qualifier against Ivory Coast last Saturday, which they lost 3-0 in Abidjan, scored in stoppage time to inspire the black-and-white outfit to their 16th victory after 21 matches.
The Serbian tactician has, however, also urged his players to remain focused and consistent. “Consistence will be a key factor in our current campaign to retain the league title.”
With APR defeating Mukura and challengers Rayon prevailing over SC Kiyovu on match day 21, things have started to sort themselves out, and it looks as though the title chase is headed into a two-horse race, which has – in most seasons – always been the case.
Leaders APR host Sunrise FC at Kigali Stadium on Saturday, while Rayon Sports will be up against AS Kigali on Sunday – same venue.