AmaZulu Head Coach Benni McCarthy was delighted to reach the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup after beating neighbours Golden Arrows on the weekend.
McCarthy says after Arrows dominated the first half, he felt his team came back at them in the second 45, and he was delighted when Lehlohonolo Majoro grabbed the equaliser just before the final whistle.
And once they were in extra time, he felt AmaZulu had the momentum, but knew penalties would always be a lottery, and fortunately they were the winners.
McCarthy also says he wouldn’t mind a less stressful game in the next round.
“A game of two halves to be honest, I think a game worthy. and going all the way in giving the fans at home, everybody, a nice spectacle,” McCarthy said in the post match presser.
“But first half, I think we struggled to find our feet at first and we were second best to everything we weren’t confident we weren’t playing the football that we did, knowing what Arrows were gonna come and do and try and press us really high and force us into making mistakes and we really just played into their hands.”
“Not sure if it was the pitch that was a little bit bumpy and bubbly and a pitch that they very accustomed to and we not, but I don’t want to it to be an excuse but we just didn’t turn up first half, and we were fortunate to only be one nil down. In the second half I just said this is a derby, this ain’t just a Nedbank Cup match, this ain’t just any kind of matches, this is two teams from the Durban region who’s now finding their feet and and also is doing pretty well in the league and who’s on the up so we have to fight for pride, we have to compete, we have to show far more than what we did so far.”
“And we can’t be coming second best in such a game of this magnitude. A derby and a passage to qualify to the next stage of the Nedbank Cup and yeah, they they actually did turn it around, they look more involved, they look more solid, everyone was ready to win their battles. And I think that just gave us a little bit of a lift. And then yeah, when the changes were made, I think it was just changes that would have given us a little bit of speed, a little bit of muscle, and also to press them higher up the pitch because obviously Ntuli is still coming from that injury, do he’s not at his 100% best when it comes to his fitness levels, we try and give him as much game time as we can to get him there.’
“And yeah, so when Majoro and Shaka came and then Memela came in, a massive shift in the momentum of the game and then eventually, with basically a Never Say Die mentality attitude. Because that’s the kind of person that I was, I don’t give up, it’s never over until the fat lady sings. And I didn’t stop singing, I was stil barking on the bench. And then we get a fantastic (ball) from Memela into Major, who took his goal like a Luis Suarez or if Cristiano Ronaldo scored that goal, everyone praises you know.”
“Yeah and then Majoro got us back into the game and then I think the momentum it was all down to us really, if we wanted to go all the way but fair play to Golden Arrows, they they hung in there, and it was end-to-end kind of stuff but unfortunately the game only produced two goals, and in such an interesting game.”
“And then penalties, it’s a lottery to be honest, it’s anyone’s game, and lucky for us while no goalkeepers made a save, the crossbar came to our aid, and all our five penalty takers were clinical and we go through to the next round. Now I hope we get a favorable draw and we get a team where I can have less stress, maybe a GladAfrica team? I think it would be nice.”