Police FC of Rwanda got off to a flying start in their Caf Confederation Cup campaign on Saturday with a 3-1 win over South Sudanese side Atlabara at Kigali Regional Stadium.
The 19-year old Dany Usengimana got to the end of a fine pass from Innocent Habyarimana on the left flank to send his powerful strike into the top roof past James Alias Wari in the seventh minute.
The law enforcers had made their intentions clear early into the game with Usengimana coming close from a Habyarimana cornerkick in the second minute but Atlabara defender Abdelkarim Mutwakil cleared his attempt.
Atlabara found their feet in the game with Elias Fabian Laku making a long-range effort from the half way line but it went wide off target in the 15th minute.
Timothy Peter Dusman then made a run from midfield before releasing the ball under pressure from central defender Gabriel Mugabo but his attempt went straight into goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure’s hands.
Usengimana could have doubled Police’s lead in the 26th minute following a spectacular build-up with Habyarimana in the box but his attempt hit the side of the net.
Six minutes later, Atlabara got a freekick 20 yards out but Mugabo cleared Thomas Batista Ukelo’sshotbefore Dusman picked up the rebound in the box but Mvuyekure was quick off his line to block his attempt.
Khamis Leon Uso then picked up a pass from Laku but he was flagged for offside as Atlabara sought to equalize. Their wish was granted when Uso slotted home from a well-orchestrated goal from midfield to get the much-needed away goal for Leo Adraa’s side.
In the second half, Police head coach introduced Rashid Kalisa and Jean Paul Niyonzima who brought energy into his side’s attack.
Police could have regained the lead in the first minute of second half but Usengimana’s header hit the lower post before Wari picked up the rebound as Atlabara survived an early scare.
The home side pressed on, dominating possession while building confidence and a 57th minute central defender Fabrice Twagizimana header from a well-taken cornerkick by Habyarimana gave Police a 2-1 lead.
Isaie Songa sealed victory for Andre Cassa Mbungo’s team with a 73rd minute goal that ensured Police go into the second leg set for the weekend of February 26-28 with a two-goal cushion.
The winner of this tie will face the winner between Vita Club Mokanda of Congo Brazzaville and Nigeria’s Akwa United. Ubong Ekpai’s sole goal ensured an away win on Saturday for the Nigerian outfit.