AmaZulu FC head coach Benni McCarthy was pleased with how his team performed despite a premature end to the club’s MTN8 ambitions at the quarter-final stage.
Usuthu showcased a lot of grit and determination in a game which ultimately ended 2-1 in Cape Town City’s favour at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday evening.
Terrence Mashego fired the visitors into an early lead, but AmaZulu recovered and found the equaliser through Lehlohonolo Majoro.
McCarthy’s troops pushed for the winner in the closing stages of regulation time, but their efforts to do so left City with an opportunity on the counter-attack, and Mduduzi Mdantsane duly finished with aplomb to lead the Citizens to victory.
“I am pretty pleased with some of the performances from the new guys and how they integrated into the team and overall how the team played, we started a bit slow which was not our usual self,” McCarthy said in the aftermath. “But this is the start of a new season and some guys still need to get used to the way we do things.
“The first Cape Town City goal was very well taken, but we allowed him [Mashego] to run almost from the halfway line all the way through. This settled their nerves very early on and meant that we had to chase the game. When we finally got on our feet things started to become a bit easier and we were comfortable.
“Majoro missed a fantastic opportunity but then scored a minute or two later. The momentum was with us, but Eric Tinkler and the way he set his team up, they stopped us from penetrating and hurting them and getting that second goal we desperately wanted.
McCarthy continued: “They played counter-attack football really well and the speed they have up front and also the quality of the players, if you allow them the opportunities they can punish you.
“We wanted to avoid extra-time and penalties, we are missing 10+ players and we wanted to go for the game. We were forced into changes with [Augustine] Mulenga and [Keagan] Buchanan coming off which left us a bit vulnerable.
“When they got an opportunity following our mistake they scored the winner with only a few minutes to go which was basically lights out for us,” McCarthy added.
AmaZulu now turn their attention to the start of the 2021/22 DStv Premiership season with a tough match away to defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns to kick things off on Friday evening.