Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy wasn’t too fazed by his team’s 2-0 away defeat to PSL rookies Highlands Park on Saturday.
Highlands’ third win of the season at the Makhulong Stadium moved the Johannesburg-based team up to ninth place on the log with 15 points from 12 matches, while City, who have bagged four wins to date, remain in eighth place with 16 points from 12 matches.
“You win some, you lose some,” said McCarthy.
“Our opponents knew we are good on the ball, that we are a footballing team, so they never really gave us the time to be on the ball because every time they got it, they kept booting it long, and we had to regroup and restart.
“When you try and play your football and the opposition is just knocking up long balls and with flicks, and then have a striker who gave our defenders a really hard time, you have to take it as it comes.
“We just weren’t our usual selves.
“We can’t always win, but I would have liked for my players to have shown a bit more fight.
“But we did come into this fixture off the back of three wins on the trot to get our campaign back on track, after the hiccup following our MTN8 success in September.”
Highlands, who won the NFD title last season to win promotion to the PSL, were the ones creating the chances in a goalless first half.
They made the breakthrough in the 49th minute when Lindokuhle Mbatha teed up fellow striker Peter Shalulile for his first goal of the season.
City had hardly threatened the home team’s defence on a hot day in Johannesburg, and had to wait until the 39th minute before a first crack at goal, with Ayanda Patosi’s strike driven straight into the gloves of goalkeeper Marlon Heugh.
They were able to create a couple more chances in as many minutes after going down, but City captain Thamsanqa Mkhize and Roland Putsche’s shots flew over the crossbar.
Highlands doubled their advantage in the 84th minute, courtesy of a composed finish from former Ajax Cape Town striker Tendai Ndoro, bringing to an end a three-game winless run.
City have two home games to play before the Christmas break, and McCarthy wants to win them both against Chippa United and Bloemfontein Celtic.
“We are a lot better than our current log position suggests, that’s for sure,” McCarthy said.
“That said, we now have a 10-day break before we tackle Chippa at Athlone Stadium, and I will use the time to assess certain players.
“Some of the tackles dished out by the home side were more than yellow cards, then (there was) the fatigue factor that may have set in.”