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CityPress - - Sport -

The Buc­ca­neers put on a com­posed and in­tel­li­gent per­for­mance against a de­ter­mined Ea Lla Koto out­fit to en­sure their place in the fi­nal and give them­selves a shot at claim­ing their ninth na­tional cup ti­tle.

Pi­rates es­tab­lished a 2-0 lead in a first half that was a fast-paced and en­ter­tain­ing af­fair in the cool and slick con­di­tions in Beth­le­hem. The visi­tors opened the scor­ing af­ter 24 min­utes when Lucky Mo­homi scored an un­for­tu­nate own goal off Memela’s free kick.

Four­teen min­utes later, Memela him­self found the back of the net to dou­ble the lead, tak­ing ad­van­tage of a lucky bounce be­fore fir­ing a right-footed shot, which ar­guably should have been saved by Stars goal­keeper Johnny Mathole.

Pi­rates dom­i­nated the first stanza and were wor­thy of their lead, but Ea Lla Koto did have chances of their own: Brighton Mh­longo had to come up with two good saves in the 18th and 29th min­utes to keep out ef­forts from Mo­homi and Danny Ven­ter re­spec­tively.

Stars started the sec­ond half strongly and al­most pulled a goal back on 53 min­utes through Mo­homi, who was un­lucky to see his grass­cut­ter shot re­bound off the in­side of the up­right.

Just two min­utes later, Ea Lla Koto fi­nally got the goal their at­tack­ing ef­forts de­served – with Pi­rates un­able to clear from a free kick, Ayanda Nkosi fired home in a crowded box from close range to make it 2-1.

The Free State side was the dom­i­nant force in the sec­ond half, forc­ing the Buc­ca­neers to re­treat fur­ther and fur­ther in de­fence as the match wore on, but the away side did put to­gether some good at­tacks on the counter, most no­tably when Mpho Makola al­most killed the game off in the 84th minute, but his ri­fled shot

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