Rwanda U-20 National team managed a 1-all draw away to reigning champions Zambia, a result which was not enough to see them proceed to the third and final qualification round of the Africa U-20 Nations Cup Qualifiers whose finals will be held in Niger next year.
The Mashami Vincent’s led side played a 1-all draw against Zambia on Saturday at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
The 2017 winners advanced 3-1 on aggregate following a 2-0 away win in Kigali last week.
Zambia could have wrapped up the match in the opening quarter of the first half but Zesco United forward Lameck Banda wasted two great chances in the sixth and tenth minutes.
Striker Francesco Mwepu too had only Rwanda goalie Fiacre Ntwari to beat in the 14th minute but the shot-stopper saved in a one-on-one situation.
Rwanda grew in confidence thereafter and almost took the lead in the 25th minute through Gilbert Nshimyumuremyi who saw his superb long-range volley come off the right angle of the post.
Zambia continued to probe for openings but poor finishing by Banda in the 35th and Mwepu five minutes later were frustrating themes of homers first half display.
The deadlock was broken in the 52nd minute through England-based forward Mwiya Malumo who fired in the opening goal from an acute angle to finally breach Ntwari.
The Junior Wasps, though, refused to die and Belgium-based youngster Gueulette Samuel Marie equalized in the 69th minute with a superb scissor kick off a Christian Ishimwe cross.
Few minutes later, Lague Byiringiro gave Zambia a scare but his header from close-range went wide before the host wasted a valuable chance to put the contest to bed when Ntwari saved a Mwepu penalty to ensure the game ended on an event note.
The steam was sucked out of Rwanda in stoppage time when Prince Buregeya was sent-off to bring to an end the 2009 hosts interest in the race to Niger.
Zambia now awaits Burundi or Sudan, who play on Sunday for a place at the final tournament scheduled for 2-17 February in Niger.