Benni leaves Bucs in the lurch

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Benni_Cale Gallo Images Orlando Pirates' Benni McCarthy and Franklin Cale of SuperSport United were involved in an altercation.

Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios would not comment on the referee's decision to send off Benni McCarthy on Saturday night, but he admitted the veteran striker's absence in the second period had damaged their chances of reaching the MTN8 final.

McCarthy was dismissed just before the half-time interval, when he was shown a second yellow card for an off-the-ball infringement, with the return leg cup semi-final goalless at that point.

The floodgates opened after the break, with SuperSport United romping to a 3-0 victory at Orlando Stadium.

“Red card or no red card, I'm old enough to look at the way I see the game,” Palacios said.

“I don't want to comment why he had a red card, if he had a red card.

“If the referee was good or not, I only say a human being can make a mistake.

“But a human being can destroy the game, and a human being can destroy the club, and a human being can destroy the performance.”

The loss of a player of McCarthy's calibre, Palacios said, left a void in his side.

“He's a striker, he's a quality player who functions with the team very well,” he said.

“It's obvious, his effect, and it affected the team.

“It's difficult having a midfielder or striker red carded, especially one of the quality of Benni McCarthy.

“I don't want to comment on anything about the red card.

“If I do it's like I'm saying Benni is guilty, then I can blame him for the loss.”

SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt was satisfied with the performance of his side, who played title holders Pirates three times in the space of a week – in two cup games and a league match.

“I thought we played very well over the three games,” said Hunt.

“It was very difficult and I thought we gave a very good performance.

“We played some good football at times, and that's the most important thing.

“We got through. It's very difficult to play the three games we did in that space of time. Let's hope it bodes well for the season.” – Sapa

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