North West players celebrate
Friday Jul 18, 2014. 14:36
North West booked their spot in the final of the 2014 SAB Under-21 National Championships when they defeated Western Cape 4-3 on penalties at Montshiwa Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Western Cape opened the scoring through Barenito Lewis late in the first half before the home side equalised at the death through George Ramokgadi.
Both sides threatened early from freekicks, with Mogomotsi Ratshwene firing his effort against the upright in the 8th minute, while Alex Pietersen saw his shot saved by Koketso Tshukudu.
The hosts twice came close to opening the scoring as Lebogang Serache headed over in the 16th minute, while Ramokgadi flashed a long range effort wide in the 25th minute.
However, it was the defending champions who broke the deadlock in the 38th minute as Barenito ran onto a through-pass on the left side of the box before placing the ball past the goalkeepers to hand his side a 1-0 lead at the break.
North West made two changes at the break and substitute Letlhohonolo Mogwera made his impact felt from the onset, firing wide in the 57th minute.
Gideon Noge's men came close to finding the equaliser in the 75th minute when Mogomotsi Ratshwene was left unmarked outside the box, only to see his shot sailing just wide of goal.
The equaliser eventually came in the first minute of added time as the referee ruled that Ramokgadi had bundled the ball over the line following a goalmouth scramble.
It was on to the penalty shootout where the home side maintained their composure to convert all four penalties, while Michel Snel and Regan Rhode failed to score for Western Cape.
Western Cape will face KwaZulu-Natal in a third-place playoff on Friday afternoon, while North West will meet Free State in the final on Sunday.