AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy says Mamelodi Sundowns showed why they were crowned DStv Premiership champions.
The Brazilians enjoyed a winning start in the league opener after edging Usuthu 1-0 courtesy of a penalty scored by Themba Zwane on the stroke of half-time.
“I think fantastic opening game of the season, what a challenge, I think two fantastic teams but I think that’s why they showed their champions [with] their quality, why they won the league because they’ve got that guile,” McCarthy told SuperSport TV.
“They don’t need a lot of chances to win games, they get probably a gifted penalty I would say, then they stick it out away and then they manage but I can’t fault my players for anything.
“I think we did exactly what we set out to do, I think the pitch let us down a little bit because it was soft underneath and the players didn’t understand, where the right foot were and a lot of us were slipping all over the show,” he said.
“And it was sometimes we slipped in the most dangerous areas, which allowed Sundowns to come in but you know what? If I could to do it over again, I wouldn’t change anything, because I think we executed our game plan fantastically.
“We were probably unfortunate not to get a penalty ourselves there with a hand ball on [Haashim] Domingo, which was in the box. If it was hands on the sides ok but when you lift your hands up?
“The referee has to have a better look at that and he might say ‘Hmm’ he undone us there but overall, you know what? I’m upbeat about the season ahead. We know we have a tough run leading up to the next game and the game after that and into the CAF [Champions League].
“But you know couldn’t have asked any more, any better performance against the champions, so ja we hold our heads up and now we just go back to the drawing board, we fix a little bit of things where we made small errors.
“In midfield we didn’t control it that much, we panicked a little bit where usually we’re so comfortable on the ball, we gave the ball away quite easily and we played in the hands of Sundowns and they kept coming at us.
“But everyone who has watched the game knows that it was two teams really going at each other but at the end of the day it shows why they won the league because they’ve got that little extra special more than everybody else.”