‘Downs are a different animal at home’

Having beaten Maritzburg United to secure a last four berth in the competition in which they ended as runners-up last year, City host The Brazilians in Saturday’s first leg at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with McCarthy desperate for a positive result ahead of the return trip to Gauteng a week later.

“It’s our home game, so we have to give ourselves a good enough chance ahead of the return leg to give ourselves a fighting chance,” he told reporters. “We can’t concede, and if we can go there with a goal or two, it makes the second half much, much easier. They’ve got the personnel to field two or three different teams and still do well, but we’ll be waiting. I want to put the game to bed at home, because Sundowns with their fans at home are a different animal.”

Following their penalty shootout loss in the competition last year, McCarthy feels the competition is “screaming” for a City victory as he goes in search of his first trophy as a coach.

“We’ve done fairly well in this competition and now it’s screaming for us to go on a run and make a good challenge for it,” he said. “This season I’m more determined to get my hands on my first silverware, just to get that feeling in a managerial role.”

McCarthy says his side is “buzzing” ahead of the fixture, making his final team selection a difficult task.

“I think this is match a great platform for all the players, who are now used to playing against or with the big boys. And for the new players there’s no greater motivation being in the semi-finals of a cup competition against a team who won the league last year,” he said.

“Everyone has been buzzing since yesterday, so choosing my starting eleven will be a nightmare.”

City will be without attacking duo Surprise Ralani and Siphelele Mthembu for Saturday’s tie, with the former suffering a grade two muscle tear in last week’s 0-0 draw to Golden Arrows, while “Shaka Zulu” is still recovering from an injury to his Achilles tendon, suffered in the MTN8 quarter-final win over Maritzburg.

Kick-off in the Mother City on Saturday is set for 15h00.