Benni explains angry antics

McCarthy is no stranger to touchline spats and exchanging words with officials in his young coaching career, and on Sunday had to be restrained on several occasions when making his feelings known to referee Victor Hlungwane.

He was particularly angered when Rushine De Reuck put in a challenge on City striker Siphelele 'Shaka Zulu' Mthembu in the centre of the park - a tackle he considered potentially career-ending.

Bafana Bafana's record scorer also tangled with Maritzburg coaching duo Fadlu and Mahier Davids during the game, and got into it with some of the Team of Choice fans that were having a go at him.

Asked if he was close to punching someone, McCarthy said: “Not close enough, not close enough.

“I managed [to calm] myself. I think it was just the frustration that the officials were waiting for someone to get a serious injury before they do something, and I think that is one thing that our game needs to step up.

“Why do we have a fourth official that sees everything and that doesn’t communicate to the referee? Because Shaka Zulu, tackled by [De Reuck], that was a career-breaking tackle and the player gets a yellow card!

“So those are little things about our game that needs improving, because when coaches try to get protection for their players then you get sent off and you get a three-match suspension, and you get fined, for what? For trying to protect your players?

“Because if the referees and officials don’t protect the players then what are we gonna have? Like now I’m out with two players," he added, referring to Citizens skipper Thamsanqa Mkhize, who went off with a gash to his head following a collision with Thato Thlone.

“Mkhize was a freak accident but I think the Shaka Zulu one was a bad, bad, bad tackle. With that said the referee was pretty good, he handled the game well, so I’m not complaining.

“But I feel he let a few Maritzburg players off the hook big time and if it was the other way around I think I’d have had a few [of my] players in the shower earlier.”

McCarthy's side will meet Mamelodi Sundowns in the two-legged MTN8 semi-finals later this month, while their next league game is against visiting Golden Arrows on Saturday night.