CAPE TOWN - It’s safe to say that Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy has learnt from the best when it comes to turning bad situations into a positive next time out. The best we’re talking about: McCarthy’s former coach, Jose Mourinho.
City emerged as 2-0 winners over Ajax Cape Town in the Mother City derby at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, but it was a game in which all the big decisions went the way of McCarthy’s team.
It would appear, therefore, that McCarthy’s vocal complaints about match officials over the last two weeks had some effect (It is, of course, a popular Mourinho strategy to sow the seed of uncertainty in the mind of the man with the whistle).
On Saturday, the penalty shout, when City defender Taariq Fielies fouled Tercious Malepe, was a definite penalty. And there was also a suspicion of off-side in the build-up to City’s second goal late in the match.
“I thought we got away with that penalty decision,” said McCarthy. “Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. Last week, we scored a goal and it wasn’t awarded. This time, it was a penalty, but the referee decided not to give it, so it went our way.
“But I thought both teams went for it. Ajax can hurt you if you allow them to play, so our game plan was to put pressure on them and not give them time on the ball. I thought we were always in control.”
In typical derby fashion, tempers frayed and emotions boiled over. There were a few overly-aggressive tackles which led to some tasty incidents towards the end - and, rest assured, McCarthy was right there in the heat of the battle, supporting his players.
“I always say that a football team is a reflection of its coach,” said McCarthy. “Yes, there were a few nasty situations and I admit that I over-reacted, and I apologise for that. But I’m a passionate man, I was as a player and I am as a coach - and, if the opposition wants to bully my players, then, make no mistake, I will stand up and defend them.”