Tuesday Nov 21, 2023. 17:00
Rwanda were quickest to troubleshoot in tricky conditions at the Huye Stadium on Tuesday afternoon as Amavubi bagged maximum points in a 2-0 win over South Africa in their latest Group C Africa 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Taking to a water-logged pitch at the Huye Stadium, both sides struggled to get into a passing rhythm as a result of the ball constantly sticking to the Astro turf. The wet conditions appeared to have levelled the playing field with numerous 50/50 battles breaking out in the middle of the park.
However, it was Rwanda who broke the deadlock as Innocent Nshuti got his name on the scoresheet in the 12th minute. In a swift transition move, Nshuti latched onto a lobbed ball played into the South Africa half before unleashing a shot on the half-volley that left Ronwen Williams rooted to the spot.
Bafana Bafana struggled under the long ball as Rwanda managed to adapt to the awkward conditions around the 20th minute mark. The home side continued to look dangerous when going forward and often took the game to the visitors.
Amavubi then doubled their advantage shortly before the half-hour mark as Gilbert Mugeshi joined Nshuti on the scoreboard with a wonderful individual effort. In taking on Khuliso Mudau on the left-wing, the attacker glided beyond the defender before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.
While South Africa struggled to provide an answer to Rwanda’s two-goal advantage, Amavubi managed to see out the half with ease.
Bafana looked a better side after the restart and began stroking the ball around in an attempt to take charge of the fixture. However, Rwanda held their own during this period and did well to keep South Africa at arm’s length.
As the pitched dried up in Butare, South Africa bossed the possession count after the hour mark but struggled to manufacture notable goalscoring opportunities. Themba Zwane came close to opening South Africa’s account during this period but we was ultimately let down by wayward finishing.
The traveling side piled on the pressure toward the end of the tie as the likes of Percy Tau and Mihlali Mayambela pressed high up the pitch. Nonetheless, it was not to be for Bafana, as Amavubi recorded a clinical 2-0 win at the Huye Stadium.
Rwanda (2) 2 (Nshuti 12’ 28’)
South Africa 0
Rwanda: Ntwari, Imanishimwe, Manzi, Mutsinzi, Omborenga, Niyonzima, Bizimana, Byringiro (Sibomana 46’), Muhire (Sahabo 59’), Mugisha (Niyomugabo 73’), Nshuti (Mugenzi 70’)
South Africa: Williams, Modiba, Xulu, Sibisi, Mudau, Sithole (Appollis 75’), Mokoena, Hlongwane (Lepasa 52’), Zwane, Tau, Mayambela