Thierry Manzi proved to be the hero for Rwanda in their latest Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, as Amavubi and Benin shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the Stade Regional Nyamirambo Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Rwanda had the better of Benin during the early stages of the game and settled well on the ball from defensive positions.
The home team pushed high up the pitch and recorded their first shot at goal in the eighth minute after a well-crafted corner-kick routine.
Rwanda were rewarded a golden opportunity to take the lead after 16 minutes, after the referee spotted an infringement inside the Benin 18-yard area and subsequently awarded the hosts a penalty. In stepping up to the spot, York Rafael’s effort was saved by Saturnin Allagbe as he kept his nation in the tie.
After 30 minutes on the clock, Rwanda remained progressive going forward and held up to 58 per cent ball possession at the time. With Benin under threat, the visitors sat back and looked for counter-attacking opportunities.
With neither side able to infiltrate their opposition defences, the referee called time on the first 45 with the scores tied at 0-0.
In contrast to the start of the encounter, the second half began at a rapid pace with Benin often getting the better of the home team high up the pitch. Benin took the lead moments before the hour mark as Jodel Dossou got his name on the score sheet.
In beating the offside trap, Dossou was played through with a well-weighted ball toward the Rwanda box and subsequently rounded the goalkeeper before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.
Rwanda levelled matters in the 70th minute after a sustained period of pressure paid off for the home team. After winning a corner, Thierry Manzi was on hand to guide home a header that was squared into the six-yard area.
Both teams rang in the changes soon after Rwanda’s equaliser, while the hosts continued to ask questions in the final third. However, both sides failed to make the most of any goalscoring chances thereafter as the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Rwanda: (0) 1 (Manzi 71’ ) Benin: (0) 1 (Dossou 58’) Rwanda:
Benin: (0) 1 (Dossou 58’)
Rwanda:Ntwari, Imanishimwe, Manzi, Mutsinzi, Serumogo, Rubanguka (Bizimana 45’), Mugisha, Muhire, Muhozi (Omborenga 76’), Rafael (Niyonzima 65’), Kagere
Benin: Allagbe, Kiki, Assogba (Sankamao 45’), Adenon, Hountondji, Doremus (Imourane 45’), Ahlinvi (Sessegnon 81’), Dokou, Olaitan, Aiyegun (Mounie 73’), Dossou