CHAN 2016: Group A

Morocco 4-1 Rwanda

Ivory Coast 4-1 Gabon

With the rain done pouring and Rwandan president Paul Kagame in the stands, the quest by the hosts to win all their Group A matches at the African Championship of Nations started against Morocco.

Unfortunately for Rwanda, Morocco came out 4-1 victors, but the result wasn’t good enough to see the latter through after Ivory Coast defeated Gabon 4-1 in Huye.

Rwanda’s coach, Jonathan McKinstry had rested a number of players who had managed two wins against Ivory Coast (1-0) and Gabon (2-1). Among those MCKinstry rested were inspirational central defender Emre Bayisenge right back Fitina Omborenga and goalkeeper Eric Ndayishimye.

It was understandable for the former two, they were both on yellow cards and any booking would rule them out of quarterfinal tie. But the combination of Kwizera, his central defender Faustin Usengimana and Abdul Rwatubyaye failed to work.

rwanda morocco chan

Playing at the same time as Ivory Coast and Gabon, Morocco on one point needed to win their match to stand any chance of advancing. And they were two goals up after 23 minutes. Abdelghani Khadrouf got the opener in the 15th before Mohamed Aziz doubled the score from a corner.

At the time it was still 0-0 in Huye were Ivory Coast and Gabon were playing. Hegman Ngomirakiza pulled one back to bring some life into the Rwandan fans who endured the rain to come and cheer their team.

Ivory Coast also got into the lead at Huye, which tentatively put them ahead of Morocco on which team would advance. Back at Amahoro, despite conceding two avoidable goals, goalkeeper Oliver Kwizera was still in a generous mood, Abdeladim Khadrouf also got onto the score sheet to make it 3-1 for the Maghreb.

Five minutes to halftime, McKinstry brought on Fitina for injured Michel Rusheshangoga. But Rwanda were 4-1 down in no time after Mouaoui found himself unmarked in the area before releasing a powerful shot past Kwizera for his second of the day.

At the start of the second half in Huye, Gabon leveled matters bringing Morocco back into contention. But Ivory Coast got the lead again, they knew all they needs was three points to advance with six.

Ivory Coast were three up by the hour mark and four up by the 70th. Morocco also knowing what’s happening in Huye they put the foot off the accelerator.

Rwanda and Ivory Coast both advanced with six points but the former topped the pool with a better head to head, Rwanda defeated Ivory Coast 1-0 in the opening day of the competition.

Senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering volleyball, football and badminton

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