APR FC have been eliminated from the 2024 Mapinduzi Cup tournament following their shocking 4-2 semi-final defeat on penalties to the reigning champions, Mlandege FC, after playing out a scoreless draw in normal time on Tuesday evening.
Thierry Froger’s men dominated the Zanzibar side during the regular time but failed from the spot when they were taken to a penalty shoot-out, with Sharaf Shaiboub and Ramadhan Niyibizi missing their penalties.
APR had a strong start to the game, having plenty of ball possession and threatening to break the stalemate early.
Sharaf Shaiboub thought he had put APR in front in the 18th minute when Ismail Nshimirimana crossed the ball for him to nod into the back of the net, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The Rwandan outfit kept their composure as they hunted for a goal, though the dodged Mlandege, who were there to defend their crown, held them off in the first half.
There was an absurd moment in the dying time of the game as Mlandege’s Masoud Juma and APR’s Clement Niyigena were both sent off for brawling on the pitch in the 88th minute.
Neither team could be separated after 90 minutes as they deadlocked 0-0 at Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar after squandering their chances of taking the lead.
Thierry Froger opted to change his side’s goalkeeper before the penalty shoot-out with Pierre Ishimwe coming on for Pavelh Ndzila, and Ishimwe went on to guess right once and save one of five Mlandege penalties.
Dieudonne Ndayishimiye and Sanda Soulei, who is on trial, are the only ones who scored their penalties for APR as the Rwanda Premier League title holders wiped out the Mapinduzi Cup, which they have yet to win.
Mlandege will square off against the victorious side from a semi-final clash between Tanzanian franchises Simba SC and Singida Big Stars in the final.
The Zanzibari side claimed the 2023 Mapinduzi Cup championship after carrying off a 2-1 victory over Singida Big Stars.