Benni McCarthy says he feared the worst when MTN8 final went to penalties
Benni McCarthy was dreading the possibility of a penalty shootout deciding the outcome of the MTN8 final and was convinced that he would be condemned to losing a game his Cape Town City team were dominating as the match dragged on at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.
But his fears proved to be unfounded as City beat Supersport United 4-1 on penalties to win the title.
“It was the most nerve-racking football match that I’ve endured‚" said McCarthy after winning a maiden title as a coach.
"I think last season was tough but this one was worse because as much as we were trying to be positive and keep the guys energized and constantly telling them to believe‚ I don’t think any of us (on the bench) believed ourselves because of what happened last season."
Like Saturday’s game‚ City had also dominated proceedings one year ago when these two clubs also contested the MTN8 final in Durban but SuperSport went on to take the title on penalties.
“By the looks of it‚ SuperSport seem pretty comfortable with taking us to penalties and relying on Ronwen Williams to win them the cup‚" he said.
“We all know he is a specialist in these things (shootouts) and rightfully so; he’s one of the top goalkeepers we have in the country.
“I was fearing we would go to penalties and to be honest‚ I thought: ‘Nah‚ if it’s penalties‚ we lose’.
"But now we have Peter Leeuwenburgh in goals and that gave us the edge.”
McCarthy said the new Dutch goalkeeper had studied the penalty taking of the SuperSport players.
“Maybe he’s come from outside to teach us a thing or two‚” he joked.
Leeuwenburgh saved twice to ensure a 4-1 win in the shootout for City after a goalless draw in which McCarthy’s side dominated but could not find the net.
They twice hit the woodwork and in the end were worthy victors.
McCarthy praised his players and their commitment and said he was “delighted” for them as many were lifting a cup for the first time.
“These guys come to work every single day‚ they train and they want to improve‚ they want to better themselves and you see vast improvements every game‚" he said.
“We’ve kept up our integrity in believing that we can play through any team and in the end I thought SuperSport said‚ ‘you know what‚ we are fighting a losing battle’ and they ended up sitting back.
"I was disappointed that we didn’t finish the game off in the 90 minutes.”