Pulisic happy to make an impact for Chelsea

Christian Pulisic is confident he will soon find his top form after an improved performance for Chelsea against Newcastle United at the weekend.

Pulisic stepped off the bench on Saturday as the Blues recorded a 1-0 win over the Magpies. Marco Alonso scored the only goal of the game, but Frank Lampard's side created a number of chances on home soil.

Striker Tammy Abraham went close on a few occasions and plenty of fans were left impressed by Pulisic. He played just 25 minutes after replacing Mason Mount, but the USA international showed signs of his true potential.

The former Borussia Dortmund star has found life tough since he joined for £58million, and he admitted this week that being an American in the top flight is not easy.

Lampard was quick to praise the playmaker, and Pulisic believes his form in front of goal will come.

He told ESPN: "It was a really good game, happy for the team, had a strong performance, they defended really well, and I was happy to make an impact.

"(Lampard) told me to do exactly what I'm doing now, continue to train hard, when I get my opportunity, I have to take it. I just don't have that scoring touch, but I know it will come back."

Callum Hudson-Odoi's return could push him further down the pecking order, with the England international looking back to his best after an Achilles injury.

The academy graduate, Pedro, Willian and Mount are all ahead of Pulisic, but the return of the Champions League could help his cause.

Chelsea, who have now won five games in a row in all competitions, travel to the Netherlands to take on Ajax on Wednesday night. They will then meet Burnley on Saturday before facing Manchester and Watford.

Hunt: Wits don't have financial problems

Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt insists the team's relatively small squad of players is not down to financial constraints.

The Clever Boys have been reluctant to spend money in the transfer market in recent years, preferring to bring in free agents instead, and Hunt admits it's difficult to make do with a small squad.

"Well, I have got what I got. Isn't it? We bought one player. We are fighting and we are doing very well with the players that I got... with those 21 players. Everybody else has 35 players but I've got 21 players," Hunt told the media.

However, he has revealed that the club's decision to limit spending is not due to a lack of funds.

Asked whether the decision not to bring in more players was due to financial considerations, Hunt responded: "No, we are not struggling financially. The policy was not to buy any players. So, that was the policy this season."

Despite Hunt's modest squad, Wits have found great success on the pitch so far this season. They have won five of their opening six Absa Premiership encounters and sit second in the standings, four points adrift leaders Kaizer Chiefs and with two games in hand to close the gap.

"Right now, we are second on the log with two games in hand. We should go top [of the PSL log]," added Hunt.

Wits will take on Hunt's former club SuperSport United on 8 November in their next league outing.

Solskjaer: Manchester United should've beaten Liverpool

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United deserved to claim three points against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.

It looked for a long time like United would win the game after Marcus Rashford's first half opener, but Liverpool substitute Adam Lallana rescued a point for the visitors at Old Trafford, as it ended 1-1.

Solskjaer to BBC Sport: "I wouldn't say frustration because then you look more to the execution of the plan and the efforts of the players. Today is disappointment on the players' behalf. They were excellent.

"You can see the fitness, we're getting fitter and fitter. The players are disappointed in the dressing room which is a good sign. They're not excited at a point against Liverpool. It should have been three.

"Liverpool are a good team and pushed us back but didn't feel they created too many big opportunities. It looked like we could have got a second goal on the counter. The cross should have been blocked or cleared. These things against good teams cost you - and it cost us two points today.

"It's a good performance to move forward with.

"The aggression, attitude and desire has been fantastic. The pressing, we're getting better at pressing teams back. The fans were unbelievable."

Solskjaer was also asked whether Rashford's goal should have been disallowed.

"It's never a foul. I don't think Keano [Roy Keane] would say that's a foul," Solskjaer added.

"You can't improve every game because we started well against Chelsea. But we're on the right path. We need to improve our away form."

Mosimane: We played proper football

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane lauded his team for playing "proper football" as they thrashed Amazulu on Sunday to advance to the next round of the Telkom Knockout.

Masandawana were in rampant mood at the Lucas Moripe Stadium as they put five goals past Usuthu with Gaston Sirino netting a brace.

Mosimane has praised his troops, not for the amount of goals they scored but for the way they dominated their opponents in sweltering conditions.

The Sundowns mentor told SuperSport TV: "A good result, we played proper football and sometimes it's not about the 5-0, sometimes you can score 2-0 but as long as you play proper football.

"From the beginning, we got our triangles right, we got our passing patterns right and we looked better.

"I was worried about the weather and that’s why I told them to slow down the tempo a little bit."

Mokwena: There was no frustration

Orlando Pirates interim coach Rulani Mokwena said he was not frustrated at how his team failed to convert their chances in the Telkom Knockout clash against Stellenbosch FC on Saturday.

The Soweto giants dominated the contest from the kickoff but had to wait until six minutes before full-time when Thembinkosi Lorch hit the back of the net for a narrow 1-0 victory that took them through to the next round.

After the match, Mokwena said he took the positives from the contest and believes the Buccaneers are close to giving an opponent a hiding if they keep playing like they are.

Mokwena told Supersport TV: "There is also a big positive that we are creating so many chances and somebody soon is going to be on the receiving end of a couple of goals.

"I try to live on the positives, so there was no frustration."

The former Pirates assistant coach also credited the recent international break for helping them correct some of the defensive errors that has plagued the Buccaneers this season.

Mokwena added: "The Fifa break affords time to work on our defensive organisation, on keeping possession and not be vulnerable to counter-attacks."

Klopp: Manchester United play defensive football

Following the 1-1 draw at Manchester United, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pointed out that the Red Devils "just defend".

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side headed into this match as underdogs against Klopp's rampant side - little wonder given the visitors had won their last 17 league matches and the Red Devils were just a point off the relegation zone.

United have so often been the scourge of Liverpool at Old Trafford, though, and were on course for a memorable win thanks to Marcus Rashford's contentious goal, only for late replacement Lallana to secure a draw.

"They just defend," Klopp said in his post-match press conference. "It is no criticism. It's just a fact."

On VAR's part in the draw, Klopp told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think a lot of people thought it was a foul, I think most people thought it was a foul. I am sure it was a foul.

"Mr Atkinson let the game go on because he knew we had VAR. As soon as they scored they checked it but then it was not obvious because with a challenge you cannot always be 100% sure but without VAR I am 100% sure Atkinson would have blown for a foul.

"It's great for offside and handball but for these situations we have not got it right yet. I was so confident that it was going to be overturned but then it has to change that not many decisions are overturned.

"Look at Manchester City yesterday it was so clear and obvious that De Bruyne was pushed and if I am saying Manchester City should have had a penalty then it must have been a penalty."

Vukusic: No point dwelling on 5-0 defeat

AmaZulu head coach Jozef Vukusic is keen to put the disappointment of their Telkom Knockout exit behind them as they change focus to the Absa Premiership.

Usuthu were hammered 5-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round of the TKO at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Sunday, and Vukusic lamented the way the game got away from his charges after keeping it tied at 0-0 until just before half-time.

"There was a lot of pressure from Sundowns in the first half, but I would like to believe that we were okay until we conceded the goal in the 45th minute," he told the press in a post-match interview.

"I believe that the second and third goal were very soft goals that were unnecessary.

"There are many areas that we have to work on but it's okay, we'll go back and we will learn," he added.

"It was a difficult game, I think we could've done better in certain instances, but we can't do anything about it now."

Vukusic doesn't want his players dwelling on the heavy defeat and is eager to see them get back to winning ways against Baroka in the Absa Premiership on 27 October.

He added: "We now have to focus on the league, make sure that we get maximum points in the next game and focus on how to move from where we are in the league."

United end Reds winning streak

A late equaliser from Adam Lallana saw Liverpool claim a share of the spoils with a 1-1 draw at Manchester United as the Reds' winning streak came to an end.

United, boosted by David De Gea passing a fitness test, had initially two changes from the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle a fortnight ago as Aaron Wan-Bissaka replaced Diogo Dalot at right-back and Juan Mata made way for Victor Lindelof.

However, Marcos Rojo was later drafted into the side in place of Axel Tuanzebe after he suffered an injury in the warm-up.

Liverpool made three changes to the side that beat Leicester 2-1 at Anfield as the injured Mohamed Salah was replaced by Divock Origi, Joel Matip returned in defence in place of Dejan Lovren and Alisson was back in goal ahead of Adrian.

Liverpool went into the game looking to stretch their 100 per cent start to nine games and move level with Manchester City’s Premier League record of 18 consecutive wins.

But it was United who started positively without really threatening, while the first effort in anger came at the other end on 13 minutes when Georginio Wijnaldum’s low strike was comfortably saved by De Gea.

Scott McTominay stung the palms for Alisson with an effort from distance while De Gea was again called on to deny Roberto Firmino.

United took the lead on 36 minutes amid huge controversy as Lindelof appeared to foul Origi from behind before the ball was played to Daniel James whose cross from the right was superbly converted from close range by Marcus Rashford.

However, despite going to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) the goal was allowed to stand much to the annoyance of Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp.

VAR again came to the fore on 44 minutes when Mane got the better of Lindelof inside the area and then finished past De Gea.

However, replays showed the ball bounced off the Senegal international’s hand in the build-up and the goal was correctly chalked off.

United conceded ground to Liverpool after the interval, but goalmouth action was at a premium.

Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a brief sight of goal on 65 minutes but dragged his shot on the turn wide of the upright.

McTominay and Fred both tried their luck at the other end but neither managed to trouble Alisson between the sticks.

With Liverpool pushing more men forwards in search of an equaliser, United enjoyed a couple of breaks and Fred almost grabbed a killer second goal on 83 minutes, but his left-foot strike curled just wide of the far corner.

Liverpool finally broke through five minutes from time when Andrew Robertson played a cross in from the left and Lallana stole in at the back post to score his first goal in almost 18 months with a tap-in.

The visitors looked the more likely to win it in the closing stages as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Oxlade-Chamberlain went close.

However, United held on to claim a point which moves them up to 13th, while Liverpool’s lead at the top over Manchester City is now six points.

Highlands down Black Leopards in Telkom Knockout

Highlands Park are through to the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout after beating Black Leopards 6-5 on penalties in Tembisa on Sunday.

After 120 minutes of football failed to separate the two teams, it was left to a penalty shootout to decide the contest, and after 10 successful attempts it was Leopards forward Themba Ndlovu who failed to find the target, allowing Highlands to clinch the victory.

The first half proved to be an uneventful contest, with only the Lions of the North bringing some life to proceedings with a couple of decent chances late on, although none of them were converted.

Coach Owen Da Gama brought on veteran midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane after the break, and the move nearly paid dividends when the substitute almost scored with a long-range effort that had to be palmed away by Leopards goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.

Leopards had a great chance to take the lead 15 minutes from time, but Lesedi Kapinga could not direct his header at the target from point-blank range.

Disaster struck for Leopards early in extra time when Khuliso Mudau was sent off for a second yellow card following a rash challenge on Ricardo Willliams, but even with the one-man advantage Highlands failed to kill off their opponents.

That meant the contest would have to be decided by penalties, and the Highlands players did not disappoint, with Tendai Ndoro, Mlungisi Mbunjana, Mothobi Mvala, Peter Shalulile and Luckyboy Mokoena all scoring from the spot.

For Lidoda Duvha, Mwape Musonda, Pentjie Zulu, Thabiso Mokoena, Andriamirado Dax, and Chris Katjiukua all scored but Ndlovu could not convert.

That gave midfielder Given Msimango the chance to seal the victory for the home side, and he made no mistake, smashing the ball into the net to seal his side's place in the quarter-finals.

Mamelodi Sundowns 5-0 AmaZulu

Mamelodi Sundowns were at their attacking best when they eased into the second round of the Telkom Cup after humbling AmaZulu at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.

The clash began with Sundowns predictably holding up the ball and enjoying most of the attacking opportunities on a sweltering afternoon.

The first chance was created by Venezualean striker Jose Ali Meza in the 16th minute, who teed up Thapelo Morena inside the box. But the Bafana player went down after he clipped a trailing leg and Sundowns appealed enthusiastically for a penalty that was never awarded, though replays suggested it should have.

There was a nervy moment for the Sundowns defence when Ovidy Karuru controlled the ball well deep in the box but just couldn't find a runner to lay off to.

After several attacks, Meza finally found himself in space space in the box but his effort sailed harmlessly across the face of goal.

But reward finally came for Sundowns in the dying embers of the opening half. Themba Zwane was the recipient of a superb through-ball from Morena and then unselfishly played Meza into space, who side-footed the ball home for his first goal on South African soil.

Disaster then struck early for AmaZula in the second stanza. A long ball came in from Andile Jali that looked easily covered by the Usuthu defence. But poor communication between goalkeeper Neil Boshoff and defender Tapelo Nyongo saw his attempted header sail over the keepers head and into the back of the net on the bounce.

In the 69th minute, Morena went down in the box after a challenge from Mbongeni Gumede and this time referee Thando Ndzandzeka pointed to the penalty spot. Gaston Sirino stepped up for duty and while Boshoff went the right way, Sirinio's strike was too powerful to keep out, making the scoreline 3-0.

Just minutes later, another defensive error saw a defender dispossessed in the box and the ball rolled out to Zwane, who passed to Sirino who fired the ball home with an accurate shot. And AmaZulu's woes didn't end there, as Uruguayan forward Mauricio Affonso - who was on his debut - found a cross from Morena to bring up the fifth and final goal of the afternoon.

Martial wants to lead by example

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial says there comes a great responsibility to score goals with wearing the number nine shirt at Old Trafford.

The Frenchman has missed the last five Premier League games due to a thigh injury, but he could be in line to play Liverpool on Sunday.

Martial last featured in the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on August 24 and the Red Devils’ fortunes changed for the worse at the same time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have only won three games since then, and they are now 14th in the league table as a result.

United are still competing in the Carabao Cup and Europa League, but fans are worried about their top-four hopes this season. Solskjaer only has Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood as striker options at present, and Martial says he wants to start to lead by example.

He told the club’s official magazine: “We all prefer beautiful goals but, at the end of the day, a goal is still a goal.

“I guess I have tended to score quite nice goals and so, if I managed to score more of this kind of goal, in addition to the more spectacular ones, then I’d end up with a much higher goals total come the end of the season.

“Now that I’ve taken the No 9 shirt back once again, all he [Ole] has said to me is that I have a lot of responsibility and that I have to score goals, so that’s what I am trying to do.”

United have been struggling for goals in recent weeks, having only scored two goals in their last five matches in all competitions. The departure of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez has not helped matters, but the current crop will surely be eager to get one over leaders Liverpool this weekend to try and get their season up and running.

Kekana - 'Sometimes we need luck'

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana is hoping the Brazilians have luck on their side as they pursue Telkom Knockout glory this season.

The last time the Brazilians won the competition was in 2015, when they overcame Kaizer Chiefs in the final in Durban.

Pitso Mosimane's side face AmaZulu in their opening-round fixture on Sunday and Kekana feels the league champions did not have the football gods smiling on them last time around.

"It's always interesting when you take in this tournament. We wanna try to win it," Kekana told KickOff.

"Sometimes we need luck. In the previous seasons we didn't have luck. So this time around we gonna try to work on our luck and make sure we win this tournament."

"It's a good draw. It's gonna be difficult match for us playing at home. We gonna try to win the game and obviously go to the next stage of the competition."

Pjanic wants Juve to be more ruthless

Miralem Pjanic has called on Juventus to start going for the jugular after they scraped past Bologna 2-1 on Saturday.

The Bianconeri maintained their unbeaten start to the season, in the process extending their winning run in Serie A to five games.

Pjanic grabbed his third goal of the season, netting what turned out to be the winner after Danilo Larangeira had cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener.

Once again, Juve created a number of chances but failed to convert a hatful of opportunities.

Speaking after Saturday’s match, Pjanic said the squad was satisfied with how they have adapted to Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-1-2 shape but they are still very much a work in progress.

Attention now turns to Tuesday’s visit of Lokomotiv Moscow to Turin and Juventus will be going all out for glory as they aim to improve on last term’s disappointing quarter-final exit in the Champions League.

The Bosnian says his team always expected a tough game against the Rossoblu, but admits they could have made life easier if they had shown greater killer instinct in front of goal.

“We knew full well it was going to be difficult, as we saw Bologna’s games,” the midfielder told DAZN. “We created many chances and should’ve scored one more goal to make it comfortable. It’s tough after a break for international duty, so we take the points.

“Perhaps we should’ve moved better to create space behind their midfielders.”

Zidane calls for consistency

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has urged his players to find consistency after their 1-0 defeat to Mallorca on Saturday.

Los Blancos were unbeaten in La Liga heading into Saturday’s trip to Mallorca but failed to respond to Lago Junior’s seventh-minute goal.

Things were made more difficult with Alvaro Odriozola’s sending off on 74 minutes as Real tasted domestic defeat for the first time this season in the Balaerics.

The French boss was without seven first-team players for the game and handed rare starts to Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and the aforementioned Odriozola.

Saturday’s result, combined with Barcelona’s 3-0 triumph at Barcelona, means Real slip to second and now turn their focus on the Champions League.

A 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain and a 2-2 home draw against Club Brugge has left them struggling in Group A and Real need a win on Tuesday away at Galatasaray.

The pressure is undoubtedly on Zidane and he is growing frustrated with his side’s inability to put a run of games together.

Rather than blame injuries for his team’s poor showing at the Son Moix the Frenchman instead call on his players to start setting a regular standard, week-in, week-out.

“The problem at the moment is that we have to show a consistent level every three or four days,” he said. “At the moment, we are not doing that, and that needs to improve.

“I am not worried, but I always tell the players that if they want to win trophies, they need to show consistency.”

Chawapiwa urges Usuthu to sign Masilela

AmaZulu midfielder Talent Chawapiwa wants the club to sign Tsepo Masilela on a permanent deal and believes the club needs players with his invaluable experience.

Masilela has been training with Usuthu for over a week now, having last played competitive football at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Masilela has hit the ground running since making his return to the top level according to Chawapiwa, who wants to see the former Kaizer Chiefs defender join the KZN-based club as soon as possible.

"We need those kind of players." Chawapiwa told Kickoff.com.

"It's a good thing to play with those kind of senior players, and you know the league they understand better. And also we can learn from them also. I can say they don't like to talk and stuff, they are quite players but you know, interesting, interesting players, if you have one on one with them they are interesting players, you learn a lot."

Asked how has it been like coming up against the likes of Masilela at training, he said, "You know when you are playing with experience there's a lot of big, big...you know what I'm saying? like players that calculates your move. Whatever you wanna do they know what you wanna do because they have seen it before. He's not gonna be the same because maybe lack of game time for long, but from what I see it's just fitness only, but he is still the same.

"I think he is much, much better now because he's got lots of experience now. So now he's just uses his mind now you know, less work more mind and stuff. You know what I'm saying? He does the overlapping in a right moment you know what I'm saying. The club will benefit from his signing. We need it. It's something that we need now experienced players. And it's good for the history of the team, because it's now a right time for the team to go to the next level you know. It's been long for a team like AmaZulu without winning anything you know. Without being in the top four, top eight and stuff. I think it's a right timing for him, if they can sign him then it's a good thing, if they can sign him and [Mario] Booysen. We will just wait and see what happens."

Lampard reveals Barkley injury

Frank Lampard revealed that his reason for taking Ross Barkley off in the first-half of the win over Newcastle was because the England playmaker turned his ankle.

Barkley put in a lacklustre display after receiving an early knock in Chelsea’s 1-0 home win over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge – a result which took the Blues up to third in the Premier League table.

The ex-Everton star was restored to the Chelsea starting line-up on Saturday in Lampard’s 4-3-3, with Mason Mount playing on the left of the three in midfield, Barkley on the right and Jorginho taking up the position at the base.

Barkley was axed for an off-field incident in Liverpool city centre late last month, but was given a spot on the bench at Southampton just prior to the international break.

But he gave everyone a reminder of his abilities by grabbing a well-taken brace in England’s 6-0 win in Bulgaria on Monday night.

However, it started badly for him against Newcastle when he was seen hobbling around Stamford Bridge after just three minutes.

He soldiered on for another 40 minutes of the match, completing 17 of his 20 attempted passes and going into three tackles while making one interception.

But he was forced off just before half-time, to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic, and pointed to his right foot as he walked past Lampard on his way to the bench.

“Ross turned his ankle – the doctor wants to have a look at that,” said Lampard after the game.

He could therefore be in the treatment room over the weekend and looks to be a doubt for next week’s Champions League trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax.

And, unfortunately for Barkley, his replacement Kovacic was singled out for praise by Lampard after the game, which suggests he could well be in favour going forward.

“I saw a spirit and energy from the team,” said Lampard. “We keep picking up the wins and take nothing for granted. We had a problem in the game but solved it. Kovacic was outstanding and Christian [Pulisic] got at people. I am pleased, we have to play like that.”

Smith tips Grealish for England call-up

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes captain Jack Grealish is worthy of an England call-up after another impressive display in the 2-1 victory over Brighton at Villa Park.

Both teams went into the game on the back of fine wins ahead of the international break, Villa thrashing Norwich and Brighton heaping more misery on Tottenham.

But it would be Villa celebrating another three points as they came from behind to win, with Grealish teeing up Matt Targett to score his first goal for the club with almost the last kick of an entertaining contest.

It had looked set to be a frustrating afternoon for Villa after Grealish had equalised in first-half stoppage time, Aaron Mooy having already been sent off for the Seagulls following Adam Webster’s maiden goal for Graham Potter’s side.

But, with Targett tucking away the winner, Smith was able to bask in what was a fine display from his 24-year-old skipper.

“He was excellent,” Smith said of Grealish. “Other sides that people don’t see or hear or write about, he ran 60 yards back to dispossess a player in our penalty box – it was a captain’s performance today.

“He was integral to everything going forwards. It was no surprise that he scores in front of the Holte End and then gets the assist as well. All in all a good performance from him.”

England manager Gareth Southgate was in attendance to see Grealish’s man of the match performance, the Villa man yet to be capped having opted to represent the Three Lions over the Republic of Ireland.

Competition for places in the England midfield is hot with the likes of Mason Mount, James Maddison and Phil Foden all in the frame, but Smith says Grealish just needs to keep doing what he is doing.

“I don’t think you could not have been pleased as an England manager watching him,” Smith replied when asked if he felt Southgate would have been impressed.

“But he has got a lot of really very good players to choose from and all Jack can do is keep putting in performance like that and knocking on the door.”

Emery wary of tricky Blades

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is guarding against complacency ahead of his side's tricky trip to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United on Monday night.

The Gunners have started the season well, but face a tricky test in Yorkshire against a side that are highly motivated after battling their way back into the Premier League.

The Blades are back in the top flight for the first time since they went down on the final day of the 2006-07 campaign in controversial circumstances.

Goal difference was the deciding factor, although Sheffield United were left aggrieved by Carlos Tevez’s key performances at West Ham and were eventually paid compensation by the east London club as the signing of the Argentinian breached rules governing third-party ownership.

It was a small consolation compared to the price of losing Premier League status and a return to the top flight looked a long way off until Chris Wilder was appointed manager in 2016.

Under the ex-Sheffield United defender, they have secured two promotions and have already pushed Liverpool this season so Arsenal know this fixture under the lights at Bramall Lane will be a pivotal test of their top four credentials.

“The coach (Wilder), really his career with that team is amazing and how they are playing is the same as they played in the Championship, with big confidence, good players and their style is to be offensive,” Emery said.

“Also they are defensively very strong and we are analysing the best possible game plan, but really it is going to be difficult.

“For us we need to respect first and then we need to prepare, we need to use our game plan, quality and skills. Really we know it will be very difficult and we need to be very competitive in the 90 minutes.”

Benni: The referees were diabolical

Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy slammed the officiating on display after their Telkom Knockout defeat to Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday as 'diabolical'.

City led through striker Kermit Erasmus' 34th-minute strike but Samir Nurkovic's 84th-minute equaliser sent the game to extra-time and eventually penalties, where Chiefs triumphed 4-2 on spot-kicks.

And McCarthy seemed to take issue with the standard of refereeing, which he described as 'diabolical'.

“They say coaches when you lose you complain about the referee, but it was plain to see the referees today was diabolical, you know and players could’ve been injured long term with some challenges, there were certain instances where players could’ve been injured,” the Citizens mentor told SuperSport TV.

And the City boss thought his side were the better of the two on the day but had only themselves to blame due to their wastefulness in front of goal.

“We played football. We opened their defence apart, one-on-one with the goalkeeper and we didn’t put the ball in the net. Kermit (chance) 2-0 up, I think Chiefs don’t come back.," said Bafana's all-time leading goalscorer.

“Overall, it was a great game of football. Today we showed what a great team we are, what a team we can be if we learn to bloody score more than one. You score one and then you’re happy instead of getting a second, a third or a fourth, and we come to shoot ourselves in the end."

Middendorp hails Chiefs fighting spirit

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp was delighted with the character shown by his side to come from behind against Cape Town City in the Telkom Knockout.

The Glamour Boys looked to be heading out of the competition in the first round, but Samir Nurkovic popped up six minutes from time to send the game to extra-time and ultimately penalties, where Chiefs triumphed 4-2.

"I think a very entertaining event, we had a good start, missing a penalty is something definitely that is sitting on your shoulders," Middendorp told SuperSport TV.

"And to have injuries to Kearyn Baccus and Bernard Parker, we lost a spot in this period but on the other side we have shown a certain spirit, a certain attitude as a team, knowing that there is a qualified opponent on the other side," he continued.

"Coming back in the final minutes and going through extra-time, good [in a] matured manner and then taking [winning] the penalty shoot-outs, of course enjoying the event, enjoying the entertainment but on the other side I feel a little bit sorry for the opponent. I think they have really fought for this win too, probably they could have deserved it too but the small details decides as we have seen the final two shots after extra-time, are probably the details."

The Amakhosi mentor said he enjoyed working with the 'current bunch of winners'.

"This is the pleasure of this current bunch of winners, a team that has a certain mentality, not to give up even when we're down, okay, keep the structure, keep the gear up, good. It's not the first time [coming back from a losing position], it's several times, with a little bit [of luck] here and there, we could have made it in 90 minutes already.

"I don't want to be impolite but I think the way of using tactical fouls, suffering two injuries not out of... the opponents were involved. Good, Benni [McCarthy] is a respectful human being and a respectful coach, I think fantastic future. But realistically it was a tough game, definitely a lot of duels and challenges but from both sides. This is a character of a cup game," he said.