'We took Sundowns all the way'

MTN8

A disappointed Eric Tinkler on Saturday said he was proud of his Cape Town City side after a heartbreaking MTN8 final penalty shootout defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns.

City ran their much-fancied opponents close after equalising in the second-half with the scores tied at 1-1 after 120 minutes of football. But Denis Onyango's heroics from the penalty spot proved decisive as Sundowns finally ended their 14-year MTN8 trophy wait.

"Mamelodi Sundowns have won the league four seasons in a row and so obviously we were the underdogs," Tinkler said post-match.

"I think we performed really well because we responded positively, and we took Sundowns all the way to the wire despite being reduced to 10 men. We were one penalty away from winning it.

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"I was proud of the performance of my team and the fact that we were able to give ourselves a chance in the penalties. We had a great chance, but the quality of the penalty needed to be better.

"Tactically we were aware of where Sundowns' strengths are. How we wanted to press was slightly different to how we did it against Golden Arrows. We played a little bit deeper in terms of our press, we didn’t look to press them very high, we wanted to press them more in the middle third as we looked to block passes to Rivaldo Coetzee and Andile Jali because we believe that is where a lot of their strength is.

"However, we didn’t do that in the first-half in terms of breaking in the wider areas as every time we won the ball we looked to play on the transition through the middle and that is where Sundowns are very strong which is why we were back into defence after they counter pressed us. We needed to go wider a lot earlier, but we didn’t do that in the first half," he says while refusing to get involved in the drama that happened at the end of the shoot-out."

With a league game against Chippa United on Wednesday Tinkler stresses the value of immediately moving on from the cup final defeat.

"We have a game in three days' time and the mark of a true champion is how quickly you get up and that becomes important for us to understand

"The cup has come and gone and so the league now becomes our focus. In a few days' time, we have a tough league match, so we have to look to bounce back from this and it is not easy," Tinkler added.

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