Gauteng crowned u-21 champions

CELEBRATIONS: Gauteng celebrates lifting the trophy during 2017 SAB League National championship final. Photo: BackpagePix.

GAUTENG Province team was crowned champion of the 2017 SAB u-21 national championships on July 30, after defeating defending champions USSA 4 -1 on penalties following a 3-all draw in regulation time.

The exciting final was played at the Nike Football training centre on Sunday, started in blistering pace as USSA went 2-0 up within the first 15 minutes. Tournament top-goalscorer, Yusuf Bunting saved the best for last as he scored his second hat-trick of the tournament through a goal in the 20th minute and then netting a brace in the second half of the game. He scored a penalty in the 53rd minute and a brilliant side-footer in the 59th minute.

There was a twist in the story as USSA levelled matters, with two minutes left on the clock, through a brilliant shot from striker Bongani Mabena to take the game into penalties.

ATTACKING PLAY: Gauteng (green) v USSA (red) during 2017 SAB League National championship final. Photo:BackpagePix.

The penalties proved a bridge too far for USSA as they scored only one of their three kicks, meaning Gauteng won by only taking and converting four of the five allotted penalties through Loannides, Senwamadi, Tshoba and Mashiane, while USSA’s Lesibe’s penalty was saved. Makhene scored before Nkomo shot wide for the game to end 4-1 in favor of Gauteng on penalties.

This was the third finals meeting between the sides. All were decided on penalties with Gauteng leading 2-1. The first two in 2011 and 2012 both finished in 1-all draws and were won 3-2 on penalties by each team – USSA in 2011, and Gauteng in 2012, respectively.

This is the second title for Gauteng in their third final as they also won the 2012 edition and finished as runners-up in 2011.

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Annette van Schalkwyk

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