IT was a gruelling task, but Crystal Palace eventually defeated the much-improved Shining Stars 4-3 in sudden death, after the Motherwell Football Association (MOFA) Sasko Knockout Competition finals ended in a draw after regulation time at the Motherwell NU 11 Stadium on Sunday.The semi-finals were explosive with the fans being treated to football of a high standard. In the first semi-final, Manchester United shared a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, with Olwethu Chukwu Mzizana scoring a goal for United, while Siphelele Stanton Mambukwe equalised for Palace. The game had to be decided on penalties with Palace winning 4-3 to book themselves a berth in the finals. Despite their 4-0 defeat, the youthful side of Young Ideas gave Shining Stars a run for their money. Shining Stars’ goals came courtesy of Sinoxolo Kwayiba, Simphiwe Manengele and a brace from Zolani Jibiliza.The two finalists were too closely matched to predict a winner. Shining Stars squandered many scoring opportunities in the first half. Palace’s only clear-cut chance was saved by an upright in the first half. Palace had their chances in the second half, but Shining Stars’ goalkeeper, Siphosethu Baxana, pulled off some brilliant point-blank saves. The game eventually had to be decided on penalties with Palace winning the game 4-3 in sudden death.Crystal Palace scooped the first prize of R4 000, a floating trophy and gold medals while Shining Stars settled for R2 000 plus silver medals. The losing semi-finalists Manchester United and Young Ideas went home with R500 each. Two of Shining Stars’ outstanding players were honoured individually – Jibiliza received a top goal scorer trophy, while Baxana won a goalkeeper trophy.Sasko Road Show crew manager, Bonelo Mayoyo, said that they were very impressed with the tournament. “I will inform my branch manager, Trevor Nghonyama, that we have seen great football. The tournament went smoothly and the fans were very enthusiastic. “The finals were so exciting and I was not sure who would emerge as winners. I am very happy with the way MOFA Sasko KOC was organised, said Mayoyo. MOFA chairperson, Thobela Dekeda, told PE Express that he was overjoyed that the tournament ran smoothly. Dekeda said, “I want to thank Sasko for coming to our rescue. The tournament was exciting right from the start to the end. “Our local organising committee really deserves an accolade.“I want to thank everybody who made the tournament a success. The challenge that we are faced with is that we do not have the financial resources to run our league. “Despite this, life will go on,” he said.