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Western Cape sneak past Mpumalanga

Western Cape sneak past Mpumalanga
Western Cape players celebrate their win

by Staff Reporter

Thursday Jul 17, 2014. 14:17

Defending champions Western Cape booked their spot in the semifinals of the 2014 SAB Under-21 National Championships when they defeated Mpumalanga 7-6 on penalties at the Montshiwa Stadium in Mafikeng on Thursday.

The two sides were deadlocked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time with Mduduzi Sibeko and Mfanafuthi Ntozelizwe finding the back of the net for Mpumalanga, before Western Cape responded through Curvin Williams and Phiwe Mgwiji to take the game to penalties.

Mpumalanga took the initiative early in the game and came close to breaking the deadlock in the 4th minute when Happy Mashau was left unmarked on the left, but the defender volleyed over the crossbar.

The opening goal arrived in the 18th minute as Bongumusa Mabuza beat his marker on the right before squaring the ball for Sibeko to bundle into the net.

Mabuza then had a shot saved by Rushion Ross in the 24th minute but the Western Cape goalkeeper was beaten ten minutes later as Ntozelizwe fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the left side of the box.

Both sides then had opportunities with Sibeko curling a freekick just wide in the 36th minute, while Loyiso Banda blasted over from inside the box at the other end four minutes later.

Western Cape pulled one goal back on the stroke of half time as the Mpumalanga defence failed to clear their lines, allowing Williams to turn the ball in from close range.

Mpumalanga had an opportunity to restore their two-goal cushion in the 62nd minute when Sibeko was brought down inside the box by Banda, but Bongumusa Mabuza fired the resulting spotkick straight at the goalkeeper.

Western Cape pressed for the equaliser and their efforts were eventually rewarded in the 83rd minute as Barenito Lewis' corner was flicked on for Mgwiji to bury at the far post.

Mpumalanga almost sneaked ahead in the 87th minute as Nkosinathi Nkosi raced forward on the left flank before delivering a pinpoint cross for Ntozelizwe, but his diving header was kept out by Rushion Ross.

Western Cape were reduced to ten men a minute later as Ross was shown a straight red card by the referee for dissent, however, they were able to hold on to take the game to penalties.

With the two sides inseparable in sudden death, Sindile Sodinga converted his penalty to put Western Cape ahead, while Nkosi struck the upright to send Mpumalanga out of the tournament.