Emery Bayisenge of Rwanda celebrates his goal during the 2016 CHAN football match between Rwanda and Ivory Coast at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda on 16 January 2016 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Saturday Jan 16, 2016. 17:24
A solitary goal by Bayisenge Emery ensured Rwanda defeated Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 during their Group A 2016 CAF African Nations Championship opening match at Stade Amahoro in Kigali on Saturday afternoon.
Johnny McKinstry’s men started like a house on fire, with his charges taking the game to the Ivorians and the Rwandans fully behind them.
However, the match was dominated by fouls in the middle of the park, with Rwanda fouling Koffi Boua, but six minutes later the hosts delivered a pin-point cross from the right only for goalkeeper Ali Sangare to collect easily.
In a follow-up attempt, Innocent Habyarimana unleashed a grass-cutting shot in the 15th minute which couldn’t give keeper Sangare any troubles as it went wide.
A minute later, Emery netted from a fine free kick, beating Sangare in the 16th minute to hand the hosts the lead, and the culprit Koffi Mercelin went into the referee’s book for a foul.
Michel Dussuyer’s side kept probing despite Amavubi’s superiority in the middle of the park, however, Boua’s cross failed to meet the intended target and it sailed across the face of goal in the 22nd minute.
With the match heading to the interval, the Elephants’ Boua couldn’t connect with the ball following a great run behind the defence and it was 1-0 at the interval.
Just after coming from the tunnel, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Isenge was brought down in the box. Emery took it but his attempt was saved by Sangare in the 60th minute.
With 13 minutes to go, Rwanda’s Isenge started a great move but he failed to connect with a return pass in the box and in their swift response, the Elephants’ Guiza missed a great opportunity to level matters: with the keeper off his line, his shot went over the bar.
In the 80th minute Dussuyer’s men kept the hosts under pressure and Guiza was unfortunate as he hit the woodwork with the keeper Ndayishimiye left stranded and beaten hands down.
In the end, McKinstry’s side held onto their lead and walked away with the full three points as the top Group A.
Rwanda: (1) 1 (Emery 16’)
Cote d’Ivoire: (0)
Rwanda: E. Ndayishimiye, Omborenga, Rwatubyaye (F. Usengimana 63’), Emery, C. Ndayishimiye, Mukunzi, Iranzi, Amran, Tuyisenge, Dany (Bizimana 61’), Habyarimana (Habimana 81’)
Cote d’Ivoire: Ali Sangare, Mahan Marc, Vomara, Outtara, Marcelin, Badie, Okpekon, Aka, Djobo, Boua (Zakri 67’), Guiza