In a closed-door clash during the first leg of the second round of the 2023 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup between Al Hilal and Rayon Sports, both teams shared spoils after their 1-1 draw.
The game took place today on Sunday, September 24, at the Kigali Pele Stadium, the home ground of Rayon Sports, although it was technically hosted by Al Hilal. The Libyan side could not host the game back home in Benghazi due to the flooding disaster that struck the eastern part of the North African country, claiming thousands of lives.
Right from the start, the game crackled with intensity, and Rayon Sports seemed to be the early favorites after dominating possession in the opening minutes.
In the 3rd minute, Al Hilal earned their first corner kick, taken by Jaefar Adrees, but Aboubakar Meelad’s header narrowly missed the target. In the 7th minute, Rayon Sports’ Kalisa Rachid attempted a long-range shot, but it sailed wide of the goal.
However, adversity struck Rayon Sports in the 15th minute when their first-choice goalkeeper, Hakizimana Adolphe, suffered an arm injury and was replaced by Hategimana Bonheur.
Despite both sides showing the desire, the first half concluded in a goalless draw. As the second half kicked off, Al Hilal made a tactical change, bringing on Ahmed Mohamed in place of Mohammed Abdullah.
In the 53rd minute, Rayon Sports broke the deadlock, scoring the opening goal from a penalty taken by Luvumbu Hertier, putting them in the lead.
The match continued with Al Hilal relentlessly seeking an equalizer, but Rayon Sports’ defense held firm.
With just six minutes left on the clock, Al Hilal’s Ezzeddin Elmarmi rose above Rayon’s defense to score the equalizer with a powerful header, and the game concluded in a draw of 1-1.
The stage is now set for the second leg, scheduled for September 30th at Kigali Pele Stadium, where Rayon Sports will host Al Hilal in a decisive match on their journey to the group stages of the Africa Confederation Cup 2023.