Keeping fully focussed against lower league opposition and overcoming a 45th minute sending off were two of the big positives coach Fadlu Davids took from Sunday’s Nedbank Cup win.
The Team of Choice found themselves down to 10 men just before half time in their last 16 Nedbank Cup tie against Royal Eagles after captain Bevan Fransman received a second yellow card.
But United found the courage to bounce back and scored just a minute later through Deolin Mekoa, who also provided an 89th minute assist for Siyanda Xulu’s winning header after Eagles had restored parity on 72 minutes with a soft-looking penalty.
“Today it was men against boys, I know we have the younger players, but we were the men, they were the boys. Even with 10 men, we showed real character,” coach Fadlu said after the game at the Princess Magogo Stadium.
“It’s not always about the football, its about the thinking, and they showed their strength in the thinking, to be able to still not panic, to be able to still build up play with 10 men, even though Eagles had a man advantage,” coach Fadlu continued.
“Playing against lower league sides is difficult. But we showed how to do it, we showed a dominant performance. And it’s not only about the quality of the players, but the thinking of the players. Its easy to do unconsciously 10 percent less, because you’re playing a lower league side.
“But our players went all out from the start to the finish, even though we were down to 10. That shows the mental strength of the players.
“We have to take it round by round, but I think these players really deserve something for the effort they have put in this season. We’re through to next round, but we’re not thinking of any finals yet.”
Maritzburg now switch focus back to the Absa Premiership where they return to action on Friday again. They are back at the Harry Gwala Stadium and face Polokwane City knowing that victory will lift them back into the top three.