SAN FRANCISCO – The 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Group C kicked off with an intense encounter between Rwanda and Zimbabwe, ending in a goalless draw.
The match showcased several key moments and near misses, with both teams displaying determination and defensive prowess. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the game:
The match concluded with a final score of Rwanda 0-0 Zimbabwe, and both teams fought hard for an elusive goal throughout the 90 minutes.
In the 89th minute, Rwanda had a significant opportunity for a counter-attack, with Niyomugabo finding an open goal but unfortunately sending his effort over from close range.
The Warriors of Zimbabwe, in the 74th minute, seemed to have broken the deadlock when Munetsi found the back of the net. However, the joy was short-lived as the referee ruled it offside.
The game saw a number of yellow cards, with Mbeba from Zimbabwe receiving one in the 90+3 minute and Manzi from Rwanda in the 90+1 minute.
Despite a series of corner kicks for both sides and a few free-kick opportunities, neither team managed to convert their chances into goals.
Rwanda made crucial substitutions during the match, with Niyomugabo replacing Imanishimwe in the 81st minute, and Muhire and Sibomana coming on for Nshuti and Sahobo in the 77th minute.
The Zimbabwean team also made strategic changes, bringing in Obriel Chirinda for Walter Musona in the 68th minute, and Tino Kadewere for Prince Dube in the 75th minute.
The encounter was marked by some notable saves from both goalkeepers, with Donovan Bernard denying Rwanda’s Nshuti and Zimbabwe’s Gerald Takwara missing a header opportunity.
The match ended with a sense of missed opportunities for both sides, and a draw leaves the Group C standings open for future dynamics.
Zimbabwean coach Baltemar Brito commented on the game, stating, “We dominated the pace, but the final third was a challenge. We had some good chances, but the finishing touch was lacking.”
Rwandan coach Torsten Spittler acknowledged the missed chance, saying, “We arguably had the best chance of the game, but unfortunately, the effort went over. We will regroup and focus on the next matches.”
The next fixture for both teams in Group C is eagerly awaited, with Zimbabwe facing Nigeria and Rwanda taking on another challenging opponent in South Africa (Bafana Bafana).