Sundowns tougher than Wits and Pirates in Nedbank‚ says City coach McCarthy

Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns gets past Taariq Fielies of Cape Town City FC during the Absa Premiership match between Cape Town City FC and Mamelodi Sundowns at Athlone Stadium on February 02, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns gets past Taariq Fielies of Cape Town City FC during the Absa Premiership match between Cape Town City FC and Mamelodi Sundowns at Athlone Stadium on February 02, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Benni McCarthy says that having come though two tough matches in the Nedbank Cup already has helped him and his Cape Town City team grow‚ but that quarterfinal opponents Mamelodi Sundowns will be their stiffest prospect to date.

“I wanted to have the experience of playing against a team like Ubuntu (Cape Town) and EC Bees but unfortunately I’ve got all the big guns‚” he told a press conference in Cape Town on Thursday‚ ahead of Sunday’s quarterfinal clash at the Cape Town Stadium.

City upset champions Bidvest Wits away in the first round and then beat Orlando Pirates in their second round tie at home.

“It hasn’t been a bad way to learn and grow but I think this one is going to be the toughest of the three‚” McCarthy said.

“No disrespect to the other two that we’ve faced‚ they’re both quality sides. But when you play the African Champions League winners and the team that’s at the top of our league‚ it’s a difficult challenge.

“But it’s also nice motivation for the boys. If you want to win these trophies‚ you’ve got to play the best and beat them.”

McCarthy said he expected his players to “add to the good work they’ve done against Pirates” and were looking sharp and intense in training‚ with no real injury concerns.

Lyle Lakay is out through his suspension but Mpho Matsi and Matthew Rusike are back in contention after recovering from injury.

“Home advantage always helps‚” the City coach continued. “When you don’t have to travel‚ you can prepare nicely.

“We are accustomed to the weather and now winter is beginning to arrive‚ it’s the Cape Town we know. Teams from Pretoria and Joburg don’t like trips down to the Cape so hopefully that can help us.

“We are well rested and now it’s back to doing what we do best – and that’s playing football!”

McCarthy said he expected Sundowns would be attacking from the start of Sunday’s match.

“I think he’s (Downs coach Pitso Mosimane) going to go for it‚ but we will do so too.

“With the personnel that they’re going to bring to the game‚ they will come at us. The last few games that we’ve analysed of theirs‚ they’ve attacked with four players and various options that he can use.

“They will want to put us on the back foot straight away and our game is very simple – without revealing what we want to do – but we know we’ll be pressed high‚ which we welcome.

“We are a good building-up side‚ one of the best in the league‚ and we can handle the high pressure game.”

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