Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy conceded it was a "bad day at the office" after being bundled out of the MTN8.
The Citizens, who won the competition last season, lost 2-0 to Polokwane City at Newlands Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A goal in each half by Mohamed Anas and Charlton Mashumba respectively sealed Rise and Shine’s spot in the semifinals where they will face off with Highlands Park over a two-legged affair on September 1, with the return leg a fortnight later.
Although it was a bitter pill for the defending champions to succumb on home soil, McCarthy appeared to take the stance that cowboys don’t cry.
"Yes, it was a bad day at the office from our point of view," McCarthy told KickOff.com.
"They also disrupted our rhythm with their aggressiveness. They were flying into tackles and to be quite honest, my players were getting scared they might get seriously injured."
According to McCarthy, the referees could also have been more consistent with their officiating in this quarter-final match.
"Maybe there should have been a few challenges that should have been punished but it wasn't, and I think that also unsettled my players that they were not getting protected by the referee," he added.
"They took us out of our comfort zone. Everything we did was poor, our build-up, and I think the players were just focused on not getting kicked.
"But look, I’m not making any excuses and I think Polokwane got their tactics spot on."
The Citizens shift their focus to the Absa Premiership this week as they square up against defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday (19h30).