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Free State exact revenge on KZN and book final berth

Free State exact revenge on KZN and book final berth
Dylan O'Brien of Free State celebrates his goal with his teammates during the match between KwaZulu Natal (G) and Free State (B) at the SAB U21 National Championships being held at the Montshiwa Stadium on the 18 July 2014

by Staff Reporter

Friday Jul 18, 2014. 11:51

A brace apiece from Dylan O'Brien and Tshepo Mokhabi helped the Free State to an emphatic 5-1 win over KwaZulu Natal in the first semi-final of the  SAB Under-21 Championship at the Montshiwa Stadium in Mafikeng on Friday morning.

The Free State will now face either the North West or defending champions Western Cape in the final on Sunday.

KwaZulu Natal made their intentions clear form the onset, with Kwanele Hlongwane forcing Nicholas Magawu into an uncomfortable save in the opening minute.

It was the Free State though who opened the scoring through O'Brien in the 13th minute.

Mokhabi made a driving run down the right flank, leaving two defenders in his wake before laying it on a plate for O' Brien who made no mistake from close range.

KZN nearly hit back immediately through Steven Michaels, but Mogawu who had taken his chance brilliantly since coming off the bench in their opening day loss to KZN, was up to the task.

Free State doubled their lead in the 25th minute through Mokhabi. The speedy winger was given room to shoot on the edge of the area, he accepted the invitation, curling his shot past a helpless Anton Lungwase.

Free State continued to dominate proceedings with O'Brien forcing Lungwase into two smart saves before the break.

Two goal leads had been overturned at this years tournament, with the Free State notable throwing away at two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Limpopo in the group stages and would've been aware of that when they headed to the changing room at the break.

KZN pulled a goal back nine minutes into the second stanza, Jonathan Abrahams free-kick hit the post, Romario Morris was quickest to react, heading in from close range.

The Free State though restored their two goal cushion a minute later, Mokhabi grabbing his brace with a crisp shot from the edge of the penalty box.

O'Brien stretched the Free State's lead just before the hour mark. Kgotso Mofokeng's free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Lungwase, O'Brien swept in to grab his fifth goal of the tournament.

Free State continued to look the better of the two sides with KZN's only real threat coming through Hlongwane who was rather isolated up-front.

Second half substitute Mbuyiselo Thethani made it five in stoppage time. 'Neymar' as he is affectionately known, again made an impact of the bench and will cause head coach Litre Mokitlane a welcome problem before the final.