Thursday Jun 02, 2022. 20:21
Rwanda made a solid start to their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign when they held Mozambique 1-1 in a Group L match played at FNB Stadium on Thursday evening.
The Amavubi found themselves under the gun for most of the encounter, but managed to open the scoring 20 minutes into the second half through Nishimwe Blaise. However, the Mambas hit back almost immediately through Ratifo, ending any hopes of a significant upset.
Mozambique enjoyed early dominance in terms of possession, but they found chances hard to come by, with their first notable effort on goal coming in the 18th minute when veteran Elias Pelembe struck an effort just wide direct from a free kick.
Their first true opening arrived on 25 minutes when Kito and Catamo combined down the right to set up a chance for Ratifo, who struck his effort high and wide from just a few metres out.
The Mambas had another opportunity less than 60 seconds later, as Catamo got on the end of a cross from the left flank by Mandava and directed a shot on target, but Rwanda goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera made a fine save.
The Amavubi offered little in attack, but could have claimed the lead in the 28th minute when left wingback Emmanuel Imanishimwe provided a cross from the left to pick out the run of Meddie Kagere, but he was only able to shin a shot wide of the mark – with Mozambique ‘keeper Ernan Siluane scrambling to try and get across.
The final chance of the first half went the way of Mozambique in the 43rd minute, with Witi clipping in a cross from the left to find Ratifo, whose glancing header travelled just wide of the far post to leave the game at 0-0 heading into the interval.
The first clear chance of the second half arrived 10 minutes after the restart, with Catamo cutting inside from the right flank and shooting on goal with his left foot, but once again Kwizera was equal to the task and made a solid save.
Rwanda then claimed the lead against the run of play in the 65th minute: Rafael York floated a teasing ball toward the box from midfield which was only half cleared by the Mozambique defence – Nishimwe Blaise then spotted goalkeeper Siluane off his line and provided a perfectly weighted lob to find the back of the net and make it 1-0.
The Mambas replied with an equaliser on 67 minutes, as Ratifo ghosted into the danger area to meet an in-swinging cross from substitute Lourenco Vilanculos and glance home a header for 1-1.
The teams traded chances in what remained of the game – with Rwanda nearly scoring when Antoine Ndayishimiye saw his header tipped over the bar on 86 minutes – but ultimately the final whistle brought a share of the spoils.
Mozambique (0) 1 (Ratifo 67’)
Rwanda (0) 1 (Blaise 65’)
Mozambique: Siluane, Bauque, Catamo, Pelembe (Bruno Langa 84’), Kambala, Kito (Reginaldo 66’), Mandava, Mexer, Ratifo, Witi (Vilanculos 66’), Zainadine
Rwanda: Kwizera, Blaise (Manishimwe 73’), Djihad, Hakizimana (Ndayishimiye 62’), Imanishimwe, Kagere (Ruboneka 83’), Manzi, Mutsinzi, Nirisarike (Muhire 83’), Serumogo (Omborenga 62’), York