KIGALI, December 20- Hosts Rwanda overcame Gabon 2-1 to book their first African Nations Championship (CHAN) quarter-final at the Amahoro National stadium on Wednesday.
The Amavubi Wasps took control of the match from the start and could easily have taken the lead as early as the seventh minute.
The Gabonese keeper Yves Moto was forced to dive fully stretched to par away a dangerous shot off the Rwandan defender Emery Bayisenge.
The two sides launched a series of attacks before Rwanda broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute when Ernest Sugira put them ahead with a thunderous shot.
Sugira was on the mark again for his second goal two minutes after the interval before Aaron Boupendza pulled one back in the 55th minute for Gabon, who were reduced to ten men when defender Tchen Kabi was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Rwanda’s coach Johnny Mckinstry was full of praise for his team which moved into the next round with maximum six points.
“I am extremely proud of our team today. They worked tirelessly in training and they have been rewarded for their efforts,” said the Irish-born coach.
Rwanda were joined in the knockout stage by the Ivory Coast who pipped Morocco 1-0 in the second group match.
Ivorian striker Yannick zakri converted from the spot at the stroke of half time to earn his side the three points and leave Morocco at the brink of an early elimination.
The final round of matches in the group will take place on Sunday with Rwanda taking on Morocco and Gabon facing Ivory Coast.