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Free State upset hosts to clinch title

Free State upset hosts to clinch title
Mbuyiselo Thethani of Free State celebrates his goal with teammates during the match between North West and Free State at the SAB U21 National Championships being held at the North West University Stadium on the 20 July 2014

by Staff Reporter

Sunday Jul 20, 2014. 17:18

Free State claimed the 2014 SAB Under-21 National Championships title when they defeated North West 4-2 at the North West University I Mafikeng on Sunday afternoon.

Mbuyiselo Thethani scored a hat-trick and Kgotso Mofokeng was also on the scoresheet for the new champions, while Letlhonolo Mogwera scored a brace for North West.

After a cagey start it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the 13th minute as Thethani calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner from inside the box after he was played through on goal.

The home side failed to find their passing rhythm and it was Free State who almost doubled their lead in the 23rd minute as Kgotso Mofokeng's free found Tshepo Mokhabi, but he rushed his volley over the crossbar.

Two minutes later Pakiso Letswara surged forward from the middle of the park before unleashing a powerful shot which flew just over the crossbar.

North West started to see more of the ball later in the half but were unable to get things right in the final third as Free State took the 1-0 lead into the break.

The hosts made two changes at the break and it was one of the substitutes, Temoso Rabothata, who almost found the equaliser in the 51st minute when the ball found him unmarked at the far post, but his shot was blocked by Nicholas Magawu.

Gideon Noge's side threatened against in the 68th minute from a neat move which saw Rabothata finding George Ramokgadi on the right side of the box, but his shot went over the crossbar.

The pressure eventually paid off in the 71st minute as Magawu spilled Mosa Matshego's cross for Mogwera to head home from close range.

The visitors were back in front seven minutes later as they were awarded a freekick just outside the box, which Mofokeng curled into the top right corner.

Thethani then grabbed his brace in the 80th minutes, bundling the ball into the back of the net after the goalkeeper had failed to hold on to the goal to hand his side a two-goal cushion.

North West pulled one goal back from another goalkeeper error in the 83rd minute as Magawu allowed Mogwera's low shot to squeeze in at the near post.

However, any hopes of a late comeback were ended in the 87th minute when Thethani completed his hat-trick, firing into an open net after a quick counter attack.